Adventure Alternative have been organising medical electives in Kathmandu since 2004, forming strong connections with both the Tribhuvan Teaching hospital, and the Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital, both located within this bustling capital of the Himalayan Kingdom. We also run a community health clinic up in the mountains with our charity Moving Mountains, and opportunities are also available to spend time there but without supervision from a Doctor (we employ community health workers only in the villages). We also run annual free medical camps for the Sherpa communities in this area which you are welcome to join if the dates coincide. We have a strong belief in social entrepreneurship and tourism benefitting the local population, which includes the tourism and benefits provided by medical electives and medical camps:
We have a lovely guesthouse in Kathmandu which is run as a homestay by Pasang Tendi Sherpa and his wife Sarasoti. They have two children and there is an office for the Adventure Alternative Nepal company, plus a garden, terrace balcony and room for up to ten visitors in comfortable rooms. Meals are provided (breakfasts and dinners are provided at the guest house and lunches tend to be provided at the hospital for the days you are on your elective), and local transport to the hospital is only fifteen minutes away.
MEDICAL ELECTIVE TYPES
The elective program is not only open to Medical students; we also have elective opportunities available for Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Dentistry and Nursing students too. We can also cater for professional placements and work experience. Please contact us in advance if you have a preference or enquiry about a specific type of elective. The hospital is a major teaching hospital and the standard elective programme is wide ranging and visits most departments.
INDEPENDENT TRAVEL ON A MEDICAL ELECTIVE
Whilst in Kathmandu there is a lot to do. The city is full of fascinating tours and history, great restaurants and temples such as Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. The area of Thamel is the main Western hang out where you can relax in gardens or haggle over great bargains. Since the earthquake in April 2015, many of the great monuments have been damaged but much still remains. You can still visit Patan and even the ancient town of Bakhtapur and see the temples, and in Kathmandu the huge Boudinath stupa is still standing, as are many of the other attractions.
For long weekends Lhakpa can help you organise going to Pokhara for some fresh air near the Annapurna range, or drive up to famous places like Nagarkot outside Kathmandu city. Do take advice from our local staff about how best to travel and always stick to safe transport even if it's a bit more expensive.
APPLICATION FOR A MEDICAL ELECTIVE IN NEPAL
To confirm a place on an elective you should complete the application form online and give us your preferred dates. Andy MacDonald will then contact you to start the process for your elective at Tribhuvan teaching hospital and make all the arrangements in advance. We do require a letter from your university stating that you are a genuine medical student at that institution and which year you are expected to graduate, as well as your CV and a letter of motivation (an example of which can be emailed when enquiries are made). We can also provide a confirmation letter which will have all the information required for your University application (name of supervisor, hospital details, address of Adventure Alternative Nepal, etc).
TRAINING FOR A MEDICAL ELECTIVE
No specific training is required before an Elective however we would highly recommend that you read up on Nepal before you travel, in particular the areas that you are planning to travel to. Prior knowledge on the history and local customs will only enhance your trip. We also strongly recommend that you examine the ethics of your trip by reading our article titled Ethics of a Medical Elective, and also Resources and Reading. We really cannot stress enough the need to read widely about the nature of electives, the pros and cons and the wider picture regarding development and how we attempt to uphold the principles of the MDGs and the NGO Code of Conduct.
Do also learn some key words and phrases in Nepali and be prepared for standard customs on meeting people. Pasang and Sarasoti in the homestay will help you with this, since you will be living in their home, but it is good to do some research before leaving home.
RURAL CLINIC FOR YOUR MEDICAL ELECTIVE
If you would like to stay on in Nepal and visit a rural clinic, our charity Moving Mountains has built one in the village of Bumburi where we have been running a very long running health campaign for the Sherpa and Rai communities in the Solukhumbu region of the Himalayas. You can see all the information on this clinic here. It would be wonderful if you spent some time there and raised some funds for the salaries of the nurses and maybe some medical items and pharmaceuticals. It might be relevant for your elective but there is no supervision from a Doctor. A lot of the work we do there is primary healthcare, monitoring, teaching and handling local medical situations. We deal with a lot of ante and post natal scenarios plus long term illnesses that more or less need palliative care.
To reach the clinic is quite an adventure. You can either fly to somewhere like Lukla and walk south (rather than north on the Everest trail), or you can take a bus or jeep to the administrative town of Saleri (where there is a district hospital) and then trek up the trails to Bumburi itself. This is a very traditional Sherpa village and you can stay in the home of Ang Chhongba Sherpa, with whom Gavin Bate started Moving Mountains in Nepal over twenty years ago. The clinic is very close to his house and the demographic of patients is very wide. We manage several hundred villagers, but we are looking to increase our remit, hopefully with financial support from people like yourselves.
Staying at our guesthouse
At the house you can relax and move into your room. The house is spacious and comfortable. The area is safe and quiet and about ten minutes drive or twenty minutes walk from the Tribhuvan Hospital, and a little further to the city centre. The large supermarket nearby (Bhat Bhateni) sells everything you may need and there are ATM machines which accept all the major cards though you might want to let your bank know that you are going to be in Nepal. Expect there to be a 3.5% charge on cash withdrawals from ATMs.
This area of the ring road is about 20 minutes drive from the airport. We have wi-fi in the house and you can use your laptop or phones for skyping home. Plugs are round two pin or round three pin so bring a convertor. There is a big issue in the city with power cuts but we have solar panels and storage batteries to handle all the usual needs such as charging. When the power is down the wifi won’t work but you can still get someone to call you on a VoIP line.
There is no need to bring sleeping bags, towels or bedding, that is all provided. No need to fill your suitcases with toiletries either, you can buy everything in the supermarket nearby.
Your stay in Kathmandu
The medical elective programme in Nepal is based on a minimum duration of 4 weeks. We will talk to you individually to organize the specific dates, locations and durations that fit with your availability and aspirations.
To apply for a medical elective please follow the guidelines on the Moving Mountains Medical Elective page.
In order to take part into our elective, you should fill in the application form online. Moreover, we ask for a letter from your university stating that you are a genuine Medical Student at their institution and which year you are expected to graduate, your CV and a motivation letter, showing why you want to take part in our program.
If needed, we will provide a confirmation letter with all the information for your University application (supervisor’s name, hospital details, office in Nepal, etc.)
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us! We are looking forward to receive your application.