A life changing, transformational sojourn at 12,000 feet above sea. Ladakh is situated on a high altitude plateau in the Himalayas between 3000 and 4000 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level mostly consisting of villages with 300,000 people. There is total absence of on-site medical care as there are few road accesses with 2-3 weeks’ walk from the nearest road and totally cut off by snow up to half the year level in the Himalayas!
Through Twinepidemic Inc, we implemented point of care testing, and a “train the trainer” program for healthcare workers. With the help of volunteers from US, local champions Dr. Nordan and Bill Kite,
and 18 other Ladakhi volunteers, we collaborated with Cardiorenal society of America, Twinepidemic Inc and Ladakh heart foundation as well as South Asian Society of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis (SASAT). They all aligned their goals to bring to the people of Ladakh an important mission.
Bill Kite and his team demonstrated effective leadership that revealed undeniably that the people of Ladakh were in dire need of medical care. Secondly, this project could not have moved forward without the help of Murali from SASAT. He helped gear up multiple industry folks to get the devices and the personnel we needed for the project. It was a fascinating humanitarian cardio-renal screening project at Leh, Ladakh that we have been working on over the past couple of years to bring to fruition. We catered to 533 subjects in a little more than 5 days assessing their non-communicable disease states via 3 questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, pulse oximetry, 6-minute walk test, eye test for retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, the point of care testing for diabetes, cholesterol, serum creatinine and ST2 biomarker. We then classified their risk through a scoring system. Low risk had an educational intervention. Moderate risk went on to get vascular biology testing to see if we had to reclassify their risk by another level and intervene intensively. High-risk subjects went on to have ECHO cardiogram and Impedance based cardiac Thermodynamics. Those in need of further testing or invasive procedures
were referred to Hospitals in Delhi that included Apollo, Medicity, and AIIMS. During the project, we all learned from day 1 that there was a great amount of satisfaction in serving the needy. The Tibetan refugees showed so much gratitude with their smiles and Julleys!! (a heartwarming expression that says it all; hello, welcome, great to see you, bye bye, we love you, etc., etc.) and the rigorous day transformed into a productive and emotionally satisfying day. Day 2 was filled with awe as we all saw the deluge of monks seeking medical help. The blessings that we all received from their presence were invigorating. There seems to be a vibrant jubilance among the monks that one needs to learn the secret of being happy all the time regardless of all the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Day 3 was mostly women seeking help. Life engendered life. Energy created energy. It was such a joy to be of help as we were slowly but surely seeing a fundamental transformation within ourselves as we placed a value-driven service in the forefront. Days 4 and 5 were more intense with more than 150 subjects screened in one day. This gave us strength in the belief that we can lead in crisis and find opportunity
to help than to run away from it all.