Final Progress Update & Project Completion

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*You can refresh your memory & read my previous post/s before reading this one*

1. A summary so far…

unnamed-82. How has the Mobile Clinic done?

3. The figures

4. PERSONAL COMMENTS from JIJI ūüôā

 

1. A Summary so far…

  • In 2010-11, Adventure4Aid raised ~AUD$90,000 through our various fundraising activities, the main one was climbing 6,000 metres up Yuzhu Peak¬†in the mountainous region of Qinghai, China.

  • With these funds, we could afford to purchase TWO Mobile Clinics, but purchased one first, as this kind of vehicle and project had not been attempted in this very high altitude before (~4,000m).unnamed-5

  • From 2011, our vehicle provided free medical support for the nomads living around the grasslands of the 2010 earthquake epi-centre in Yushu County, Qinghai.

  • Late 2011-2012, the vehicle started to experience mechanical problems and was not working optimally in the more extreme low oxygen conditions. However it still transported doctors, nurses and medicines up to ¬†safe altitudes where nomads could still access LOVEQTRA’s services.

  • After a year of¬†lengthy¬†negotiations with the manufacturers, in 2013, LOVEQTRA obtained a refund of the bare vehicle price.

  • LOVEQTRA have done extensive national market research and testing on potential replacement vehicles with the specifications we require. The type of vehicles appropriate for our needs are only manufactured in other provinces, adding to the complex logistics.unnamed-6

  • A replacement vehicle was purchased, however at a more expensive price, in addition we had to fit the new vehicle with necessary medical equipment. Hence we had one good vehicle and the balance of the funds were put to medicinal supply for the Clinic. The new vehicle began service in July 2014.

  • In LOVEQTRA’s 2014 medical report, the funds needed to equip the Mobile Clinic with the necessary medicines is approx. CNY48,000; which was approx. (at the time of sending), equivalent to AUD$9,000. An extra AUD$5,000 was sent in 2014, totalling AUD$16,000, which should cover the medicines to supply the Mobile Clinic for just under 2 years.

 

2. How has the Mobile Clinic done?

  • Since the beginning of the Project in 2011, the combined Mobile Clinics have serviced approx. 10,000 patients with medical consultation, advice and/or referral.

  • Common issues were hypertension, arthritis, Hep B,¬†gynaecological diseases, tuberculosis, gallstones, peptic ulcer.

 The combined Clinics have facilitated:

  • foreign as well as local volunteer doctors and nurses to serve the nomads’ needs.
  • teams of local, domestic, and foreign, short to medium-term volunteers to offer their services.

    unnamed-10

    Our Mobile Clinic in use on the Grasslands

  • training of 5 long-term health workers (2 doctors, 3 nurses) specifically servicing the quake disaster areas.

  • the referral and transportation of patients of difficult or severe cases to clinics in Yushu, or partner-hospitals in Xining (the capital of Qinghai) (eg. Red Cross Hospital); or even Beijing.

  • partnership with Save the Children Foundation for¬†cleft lip & palate cases, scoliosis, congenital heart disease screening.

  • education of¬†nomad’s on good medical and health practices/habits.

unnamed-7

Our Mobile Clinic in use on the Grasslands

 

3. The Figures 

These are the approximate figures in AUD (allowing for exchange rate fluctuations):

90,000 Amount raised

41,000 Amount sent for first Mobile Clinic

32,000 Amount refunded to LOVEQTRA, from first Mobile Clinic

40,000 Amount sent for Replacement Mobile Clinic (new vehicle + purpose-built infitting: 72,000)

¬† ¬†9,000 Balance sent for one year’s supply of medicines

   5,000 Miscellaneous extra raised sent for supply of medicines

———

         $0

4. Personal Comments ūüôā

This project is¬†now complete to Adventure4Aid’s satisfaction. Although it has been a long process, I felt it extremely necessary and a privilege to see it through to its intended end.¬†You have entrusted me with these funds and I am happy that it has indeed been put to its purpose.

As some of you know, during this project, I have gone through two life-stage changes, and embarking on this second, new and exciting one next month!

So, for the next little while, I will only be able to dream of the next cool adventure to raise funds for another worthwhile project.

Till then…….stay tuned!!! ūüėČ

If you are interested to join with me in planning cool adventures or worthwhile projects, please write to me via the Contact tab at the top of this website. 

If you no longer wish to receive notifications of new posts, please also contact me using the Contact tab.

 Jiji

 

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18Nov’11- Back from Yushu- Mobile Clinic Update

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Tashi Delek All!  [Tibetan Greeting]

 I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now. Thanks to Frank for sending some updates when I could get them out to you.

[To refresh your memories on the Mobile Clinic Project, don‚Äôt forget, you can go to ‚ÄúThe Problem‚ÄĚ & ‚ÄúA Solution‚ÄĚ pages of this website, & of course, our previous blog entries & photos].

It was a tough trip, I honestly didn’t expect it to be. When I first started fundraising for this Project in January 2010, people hardly knew of Qinghai, the province in China, for which I was fundraising, let alone Yushu [Tibetan: Jyekundo], a predominantly Tibetan prefecture in Qinghai.

On the 14th of April 2010, Yushu suffered a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, which claimed over 2,600 lives and left over 12,000 injured.  Suddenly, Yushu was the centre of world attention- everyone knew where I was fundraising for; and it made the Mobile Clinic even more urgent.

I figured I would have no trouble with the altitude (up to 3900m), and the cold (it can’t be worse than the mountain we climbed last year!), and these didn’t really affect me, but what I didn’t expect, was to be having trouble with the thick dust from the non-stop construction and rebuilding of the entire town.

I also didn’t expect the rebuilding to be at such an early stage (my perspective only), but they had to wait an appropriate amount of time to allow for the many aftershocks, and construction can only be done 5 months a year because of the inclement weather and altitude. A lot of the workers come from other provinces in China and they can’t withstand the high altitude for more than a few months at a time. The snow season also started as we left Yushu.

I stayed with my friend Maggie, (who travelled with me to Yushu), in an orphanage school, thanks to the help and good relations (guanxi) of some friends. Before the earthquake, students numbered just over 200; after the earthquake, there were around 160 new orphans to the school. We were told schools and hospitals were the priority, so they have to be rebuilt first. This one was still in temporary buildings (like the demountables we sometimes see in Australian schools as add-on classrooms).

One night, Maggie and I were suited up in our down jackets etc, walking to the toilet, about 20 metres from our room. When I put my head-lamp on, I thought it was snow falling into the shine of my torch, but soon realised it was raining dust! This quickly entered my lungs and caused inflammation from all the coughing….. and then the whole deal. I couldn’t escape it, even at night I slept with a mask on. At some points, I felt worse than I did on the mountain last year.

(Frank is happy to stand corrected in his previous update on my behalf- there was by no means any air conditioning in our rooms!).

I wore the mask day and night, so much so that people on the grasslands thought I was the doctor!

After a 10 minute motorbike ride to the nearest shower, I had to pluck poor Maggie away from it, as the principal of the school insisted we didn‚Äôt shower while in Yushu-¬†if we caught a cold, ‚Äúwe wouldn‚Äôt recover (at this altitude)‚ÄĚ. I was sure glad we heeded his advice when my cough wouldn‚Äôt subside! I‚Äôll tell you a secret-¬†the first time I lived in rural Qinghai, I didn‚Äôt shower for a month because it was so freezing cold and the only shower was so far into town. It‚Äôs a well-documented fact that Maggie struggled for 4 days!

 

How your donations were spent- Mobile Clinic Update

Well, there’s a mixed bag of news, but it’s positive news overall! The Mobile Clinic donated by YOU has, via LOVEQTRA (Love Qinghai Tibet Rescue & Aid), enabled much-needed medical services to be available to impoverished and remote nomads in the harsh, inaccessible grasslands of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Last Five Months……. 

Since registration in May, our Mobile Clinic has enabled a total of 5,500 people to be received and treated. The Clinic circulated designated routes around the grasslands and pastoral areas, covering 3,500km in Yushu.

This was the schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays, teams of LOVEQTRA volunteers carried out family visits, bringing much-needed supplies- blankets, clothes etc. to those families in need or that couldn’t physically make the designated meeting points.

More than 3 months were devoted to Jiegu Township, the centre of the earthquake zone.

LOVEQTRA received 11 voluntary short-term medical teams, with a total of 28 doctors and nurses from Malaysia, Australia, U.K., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other provinces in China. These visits included the training and upskilling of local doctors and nurses in ultrasound and other techniques, dental clinics, Hepatitis B prevention, to name a few.

Common conditions treated included pneumonia, hernia, tetanus, birth-related complication, loss of blood due to accidents, hepatic and pulmonary hydatidosis (infestation of worms to the liver or lung, from prolonged consumption of uncooked meat. Boiling point is lower than at sea level, so meats are not cooked properly.)

The Mobile Clinic Project employs 7 long-term staff (doctors, nurses and assisting staff).

The beauty of the Mobile Clinic is that it not only allows LOVEQTRA to take doctors’ services, medicine and supplies to the inaccessible, it can generate electricity, enabling the use of medical machines in examinations. It also carries oxygen, for emergencies and during patient transport to the city hospitals in more serious cases (a 12 hour drive).

The report given to me by staff, informs us that LOVEQTRA assisted and continues to assist West China Children’s Rescue Foundation in checking, transferring and treating children with deformities. It has also cooperated with Qinghai University in checking and treating rheumatoid arthritis among ethnic minorities in Qinghai.

What we saw in October…….

When we arrived in Yushu, I was happy to see a very cohesive bunch of volunteers from all around China. Their headquarters is the ‚ÄėLOVEQTRA Base Camp‚Äô, a cluster of tents and simple structures. They have organised themselves into teams and were rostered¬†on for different tasks every day, as per the above schedule; a different team would be rostered on each day to cook for the entire group, and boy can they all cook!

The not-so-good news is that the Mobile Clinic was experiencing mechanical problems. According to the Base Camp Manager, it was to do with the fuel and air mix, since the air is so thin at this altitude. The Mobile Clinic still runs, but because the harsh winter is upon them, they don’t want to push it, and have it totally break down. LOVEQTRA is in discussions and negotiations with the manufacturer. The company is in another province (of a much lower altitude); as Qinghai does not have the manufacturers capable of this sort of project.

The consequence of that is that they are not experts in the mechanics at altitude, and this is a first for everybody concerned; as LOVEQTRA founder, Philip Poh, put it- this was the first fully equipped and staffed Mobile Clinic in Qinghai. I have yet to receive more information about the mechanical aspects of the problem.

We followed different teams around for 3 days, and what we witnessed was something special- the bringing together of services and those who need it. Because the snow hasn’t set in yet, we were able to go in normal vans, but obviously not with all the medical equipment. We stopped at designated routes on the grasslands, where nomads would come, having heard through word of mouth about the Mobile Clinic and the location of the stops. Of course, this has been happening since the earthquake, so people know about it and its faithful timetable.

Going Forward…….

 As mentioned above, the Mobile Clinic Project employs 7 long-term staff (doctors, nurses and assisting staff). Our funds raised also goes towards this for the first year. After that, LOVEQTRA, through their ongoing fundraising efforts, will ensure the longevity of the Project. The aim is to grow it to a fleet of ambulances. There was already a second donated Clinic (the red one beside ours in the photos).

LOVEQTRA and I continue to appeal for volunteer doctors (GPs or specialists), nurses, and medical assistants willing to volunteer for 1 week or more, to give the current doctors a break.                                 One of the doctors  came out of retirement to serve here full-time, despite his own health problems. Another young doctor gave up a promising, well-paid career to give his fellow compatriots the precious gift of health. It’s enough to make you cry.

Our Second Mobile Clinic…….

Regarding our second batch of funds, I am monitoring closely the effectiveness of the first Mobile Clinic before releasing the money to purchase the second. I was very pleased with the services around the Mobile Clinic, and that they continued, despite the Vehicle being parked at Base Camp. I would hope for one or more professional opinion/s regarding the mechanical problem and how it can be rectified.

As always, I will keep you posted!

Thanks to…….

** This blog entry wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t express my respect and gratitude to the staff and volunteers whom we met and took us on their rounds with them, which was a privilege. They even came to the orphanage school and treated my cough, which got worse during the 4 days. I was quite embarrassed and they even refused to take my money for medicine, saying that it’s nothing compared the gift of a Mobile Clinic! I was very moved.

** I want to thank our three friends (angels really), who didn’t have to, but arranged transport, accommodation and everything else in between so that Maggie and I could have a smooth trip.

** The principal of the orphanage school let us stay there and put us up for another night when our flight was snowed in.  I should also thank Maggie for traveling with me, suffering the effects of altitude, and sharing this experience with me.

** I also owe heaps to my Mom– who helped me translate the LOVEQTRA reports into English, so I could get this info out to you, the Donors. Thanks Ma!

** Of course I want to thanks you guys, who donated the Mobile Clinic. A feel-good moment indeed!

9Mar11- Invitation to join Qinghai Trip in Oct 2011

Hi everyone,

Thankyou for supporting Adventure4Aid to be able to raise enough funds for TWO Mobile Clinics, when the target was just one. The first one is planned to be up and running by as early as April!

I will be going to Qinghai to see the Mobile Clinic in action for myself in (likely to be mid) October this year, and invite any of our supporters, sponsors, their family and friends to join our trip (up to 2 weeks).  We already have a family interested in coming.

To get an idea of what environment you’ll be visiting,¬†please browse the¬†photos on this website (various pages & the actual Climb blogposts), or Google Qinghai. The landscape on the Tibetan Plateau is amazing!

We’ll be staying in Xining (capital), and towns on the way to Yushu Prefecture, the site of last year’s earthquake. You’ll come away from the trip more aware of the needs¬†and poverty of¬†nomads and farmers in Qinghai. You’ll be immersed in Tibetan culture and way of life, but your eyes will also be opened to the many other cultures that exist in Qinghai.

October will be autumn and could be¬†anywhere from¬†T-shirt to down-jacket weather. We might be lucky and get snow! We’ll be staying at altitudes of 2,200-4,000m, so the first week you will be acclimatising¬†and enjoying the sites in and around¬†Xining (2,200m).

For those who might be interested, or just have questions, please shoot me an email (info@adventure4aid.com) as soon as¬†you can,¬†so that I can start planning as well. When I have a better idea on price, I’ll write again.

Cheers,

Jiji

WELCOME COMMENTS & QUESTIONS- PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BY CLICKING THE BLUE “LEAVE A COMMENT” BELOW… ūüôā

3Feb11- Mobile Clinic Update #1 (with photos)

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Hi everyone,

  1. In the period between Christmas 2010 and New Year, LOVEQTRA Qinghai , began negotiations with the JAC manufacturer in Anhui Province. JAC is the brand of vehicle for our Mobile Clinics.

  2. JAC will sell¬†its latest model at off-market cost (exhibited at Guangzhou Car Fair 2010, Guangdong¬†Province).¬†JAC asked LOVEQTRA¬†to bring one primary school girl from Yushu, Qinghai¬†Province¬†(the site of¬†the April’ 10 earthquake), to the Car Fair to attend the press release and handover ceremony,¬†as¬†it would like to sponsor her all the way to university. The vehicle will be available to LOVEQTRA early Feb (after Chinese New Year).

  3. JAC will help infit¬†the Mobile Clinic, under advice from doctors working with LOVEQTRA. Some specialised equipment (eg. blood & urine analysis¬†machine) will be¬†fitted by LOVEQTRA’s contractors.

  4. The people at JAC¬†are very serious about this project, and have made a special trip to Qinghai Province to look for a designated repair shop¬†for the vehicles they sold¬†to LOVEQTRA¬†(they didn’t plan to release to NW China until 2013 originally.)

  5.  The Rotary Club of North Sydney (which is kindly collecting money & issuing tax-deductible receipts  for Adventure4Aid), sent funds to LOVEQTRA Qinghai, for the first Mobile Clinic in early January. 

  6. Guangzhou Car Fair 2010 JAC representatives with Philip Poh (Dir. of LOVEQTRA) & Yushu primary girl, both in traditional Tibetan dress

¬†We would love to hear from you, leave us a comment, it’s easy-¬†you don’t even have to start an account, just click below on “Leave a Comment”…

 

Jan 2011- TWO MOBILE CLINICS RAISED!

 

Dear Supporters,

As you might know, just before the Fundraising Dinner in August, we had almost reached our original target of One Mobile Clinic. 

I am proud and extremely moved to inform you all, that we have now reached our next (and final) target of TWO medically equipped and staffed MOBILE CLINICS!

Thankyou for your support everyone! It has just been overwhelming!

I will be updating you about the progress of the Clinics shortly.

Jiji 

(on behalf of the Adventure4Aid team)

 

[For previous blogposts (journal entries) or photos, please choose from the Left Side Bar of any page of the Website]

THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps [8TH OCTOBER] Last day of climb

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Day 8, October 8

 

 

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We woke to the sun beating down on the tent, which was dangerously dehydrating us, but given our experience yesterday,¬†no one felt the need to wake up early today.¬†As we were packing our things to head back to Base Camp (BC) (5,050m),¬†six Tibetans from the Qinghai¬†Mountaineering Association Search & Rescue team met us on their way up to the official Camp 1 (C1)¬†(5,600m) (we were camped at 5,300m). I knew the man wouldn’t have lasted the night, and it would be a recovery, not a rescue.

 

As we packed, I was aware that four of the fingers on my right hand and a couple on my left were becoming increasingly sensitive to touch, to the point that Julia and Sheena were kind enough to help me pack a lot of my gear for the next few days. This was later confirmed to be frostnip, the first stage of frostbite, which can happen in just 60 seconds. Once you‚Äôve had it, your resistance to the cold is much less. I realised the onset was when¬†my mind¬†was in that ‚Äúzone‚ÄĚ, and I took my gloves off to make those calls for help at Camp 1.¬†

 

Amidst the obvious air of sadness that was over our camp, one thing I thought quite amusing was that our tent, which we thought on relatively flat ground, was actually at such an angle that Sheena, the smallest in our team woke with the three of us rolled on top of her, and a big space on the other side of the tent.

 

The girls’ tent¬†(Sheena, Julia, Jiji)¬†were¬†extremely grateful to Carl for his care and attentiveness¬†leading us¬†up the mountain, and¬†now also, coming down, when Sheena was¬†especially grateful for his assistance.

There must have been a different, faster way down the mountain, because when we reached BC, the Search & Rescue team¬†were already there with the police entourage and later, the coroner’s vehicle.

We found out that the man whom we discovered at C1 had a driver. Philip and I shook hands with him at Base Camp and chatted briefly while the rest of the team packed our gear. He told us the man had intended to camp with us the night  we camped at 5,300m, but of all the chances he had to communicate this to us, when he was climbing quite close to our team, he never tried to make contact. Frank said at one stage, they were so close, he could have hit him with a rock (if he threw one). 

News reports after the incident revealed that the driver waited anxiously¬†at BC when the man failed to radio back to him, though unfortunately we didn’t see any lights.

We were later informed that he was the vice-president of a mountaineering association of Xinjiang, Qinghai’s neighbouring province. News reports confirmed that the man died of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)(fluid build-up in the brain due to prolonged exposure to high altitude; the severest & most life-threatening form of altitude sickness).

 

This experience was surreal, and one that we didn’t expect to have to deal with, on a simple fundraising expedition, by a bunch of office-workers from Australia. I felt as if I had walked straight into one of the climbing novels that I loved reading so much. We feel terrible for the man, we now know to be Yang Ge, and for his family and friends, that he had to spend the last hours of his life alone. We had so many questions that we will never know the answers to.

 

We packed up our remaining things at BC and drove to Xidatan ‚ÄúTruckstop‚ÄĚ (~4,000m)¬†for our first¬†proper meal¬†in days.

One the photos shows us all with red weather-exposed noses, as we had to cover up every part of our faces on the mountain, but the tips of our noses would often get missed. It’s probably also from wiping them constantly, lest our nasal dribble turn into icicles, which they did!

It was not until we arrived at Golmud¬†(Chinese:Ge’ermu) (2,800m) that evening that I felt we were well and truly back on safe ground, and the experience behind us.

After a hot shower, our second for the expedition, we shared some street food and a case of hot beer (people don’t really use fridges in Qinghai, with temperatures averaging -5 to 8 degrees). We drank with mixed emotions, but were ultimately and humbly thankful for the safety of our expedition.

 

ON BEHALF OF THE ADVENTURE4AID¬†TEAM, WE’D REALLY LIKE TO SAY A BIG THANKYOU TO CARL¬†AND PHILIP¬†FOR COORDINATING THE EXPEDITION AND TAKING CARE OF US. I HOPE THE MONEY RAISED WILL GO INTO TWO SOLID MOBILE CLINICS WITH¬†UP-TO-DATE EQUIPMENT & STAFF!

  

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THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps (6th October) Camp 1

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for the project details  |  how much we’ve raised so far 

Click on “Blog Entries & Pics” at the top of the website for:

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 It actually gives you a better experience if you click onto the website

 

Day 6- 6th October

 

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We headed up to Camp 1 (C1) (5,600m), this time with our packs. Frank and Lao Qiao led the way. We had a few opportunities to leave behind some of our belongings at Xining and Carl’s place (Qinghai Lake, west of Xining), along the way, but we now needed no motivation to purge our belongings even more rigorously, leaving unnecessary items at Base Camp (BC)- now that we had had a taste of what was to come. Even an extra pack of medicine, or bandaids was weight we didn’t want to carry!

 

We plodded along up the slopes of scree (accumulation of rock fragments at the base of mountains), having only the energy to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.

We¬†crossed a winding, frozen river several times. For me, this brought up visions of those movies where people fall through the ice¬†into freezing waters, as soon as they step onto it, and then get trapped under the ice. I’m sure the river wasn’t that deep & scary as my over-active imagination,¬†but nevertheless, having wet feet and clothes opens the way for frostbite or hypothermia.

I always¬†tested the ice to see if it was solid before committing, but once, on a deeper crossing,¬†as soon as I committed my full body weight, the ice cracked. I was so scared that I ran across the river so fast I didn’t even see how deep the crack was. It could have been tiny!¬†

 

Our team had different walking styles, which I observed during our training back in Sydney. For some, they liked to pick up the pace for a while, and then stop for breaks, then continue at that pace. For me, I was like the tortoise instead of the hare. If I had to stop, then I was walking too fast. That was the rule for most of the time, the rest of the time, it was Julia‚Äôs (team member) suggestion- our prime minister‚Äôs favourite catch cry, ‚Äúmoving forward‚Ķmoving forward…‚ÄĚ!

 

I remember one time, Julia and I saw a figure in red, in the distance, climbing ahead of our team. I counted all of us, and remember asking Julia who that was. We didn’t know the significance of this then.

 

As a team we decided to make camp at 5,300m instead of the official Camp 1 (C1) (5,600m), as we were getting tired and may arrive at C1 too late in the day to comfortably set up camp.  

We set up our tents on what we remembered as relatively flat ground. Carl was very attentive to our needs and cooked some dinner (Norwegian cup-a-soup, Yak jerky, and apples)¬†for our tent (Julia, Sheena, and I shared with Carl-¬†4 people in a 3-person tent-¬†squishy, but we needed the warmth!). Frank shared a tent with Philip and Lao Qiao (Philip‚Äôs friend).¬†He said that wasn’t terribly spacious either!

We would love to hear from you, leave us a comment (after the¬†photos)- you don’t have to start an account or anything….¬†

 

If you prefer to see all the thumbnails here (smaller version, not as good as the slideshow above!)….