Health and hospitals

Himalayan health and hospitals

Kunde hospital was built by the Himalayan Trust in 1966.

Kunde hospital was built by the Himalayan Trust in 1966.

The Himalayan Trust has been working to improve the health and well-being of communities in the Everest region for over 50 years.

It all began when Sir Edmund Hillary funded and built two hospitals, Kunde hospital in 1966 and Phaplu hospital in 1975, as well as several village health clinics in the Everest region.

Over the years, the Himalayan Trust provided funding, training and medical supplies and recruited volunteer doctors, many of them from New Zealand, to help run the hospitals.

The achievements in community health since the hospitals and health clinics were established are remarkable – the near eradication of TB, the elimination of goitre and cretinism through iodine injections, as well as major improvements in maternal care.

Thanks to our supporters, the Himalayan Trust continues to help improve the health of communities in the Everest region today.

Padam Maya Rai washes clothes outside her home in Lukla.

Rural health

The village of Bung is situated far from the beaten track in the mountainous Solukhumbu district of Nepal. Himalayan Trust supporters are helping to fund essential medical supplies, equipment and furniture, and provide ongoing support to this remote health clinic to help improve the health of the local community.

The local health clinic in now has new medical equipment and furniture, thanks to help from Himalayan Trust supporters.The refit at the clinic will help improve the long-term health of the local community and improve maternity care.

Read more on the Bung clinic upgrate

Better health with safe water

With support from the Himalayan Trust, the Lukla Drinking Water project pipes clean, safe water underground to benefit over 3000 people. Before the new water system was in place, people would have to use unreliable sources of water, often having to walk up to an hour to find water.

Read more on safe water

From good Kiwi care to sustainable, local care

Dr Mingma

Dr Mingma says it is good medical training to be working in an isolated, rural hospital.

From 1966 until 2002 the hospitals were staffed by young volunteer doctors, many of them from New Zealand, with the help of Nepali staff. 

For the last 14, the hospitals have been fully staffed by Nepali medical professionals.

Dr Mingmar Tshering Sherpa from the village of Thame, is currently completing a two-year placement at Kunde Hospital.

He believes Sir Ed would be very happy if he was able to see how the hospital was operating today.

“This is what Sir Ed wanted; we have our own hospital with our own doctors.”

Meet Dr Kami Temba

It was a landmark achievement when former Health Worker Kami Temba, qualified as Dr Kami Temba and became first Nepali doctor-in-charge at the Hospital. 

The inspiring story of how Dr Kami came to be the first doctor-in-charge at Kunde hospital is a story that spans the whole of the Himalayan Trust’s aid work in the Everest region.

Read more: Meet Dr Kami Temba

Kunde Hospital 50th Anniversary

In 2016 the Kunde hospital celebrates its 50th anniversary. This vital community hospital is the main provider of health care in the Khumbu area, servicing up to 8,000 local people, plus the thousands of trekkers that pass through the region during the climbing seasons.

Read more: A day at Kunde hospital

Himalayan hospitalsHistory of the hospitals

During an expedition in 1963, Sir Ed’s climbing team encountered an outbreak of smallpox – a disease that had been effectively treated elsewhere in the world with a vaccine. Sir Ed, with the help of the doctor attached to the expedition, Phil Houghton, managed to organise an urgent supply of the vaccination. They vaccinated over 3000 people and succeeded in preventing a wider smallpox epidemic.

For Sir Ed, the success of this medical intervention demonstrated the strong need for health care in the Khumbu region – and the huge impact a hospital in the area could have.

You can read more about the fascinating history of the Himalayan hospitals and the incredible tales from the heroic Kiwi doctors who staffed the hospitals in the book Himalayan Hospitals by Dr Mike Gill.

What you can do

You can help continue Sir Ed’s legacy in Nepal. Every contribution, large or small will make a real difference to the communities we work with in the Everest region.

Make a donation

Latest news and stories