Art Tibet Cham Sem: Interview with doctor in the Tibetan Clinic in Bir (7 min.)

We are here in the Tibetan Primary Health Care Center in Bir in the Tibetan Refugee Settlement in Northern India,
close to the Himalayan mountains. Hello, Dr. Tenzin Dechen! Hello, Anne! Could you explain first what is the Tibetan Primary Health Care Center
and what are you doing here? The Tibetan Primary Health Care Center, it is not a hospital
it is a small Primary Health Care Center where we provide the health care needs of our settlement
a total population of around 10.000 amongst which 3.000 are monks and nuns
from eight different monasteries from around here. Though it is not a perfect one, it needs improvement
but we have a lab where we do all the blood tests All the basic tests are done. We have x-ray machine, so this is it. So you answered my question already a bit: Who is needing your help? The needy one€˜s would be the people from our settlement and monks and nuns from eight different monasteries around here 3.000 monks and nuns and poor Indian population
in and arround our settlement and also poor Tibetans who cannot afford the treatment from outside they get free treatment from our PHC all the medicine, all the blood tests, everything is done free of cost. What kind of health care is here available for Tibetan people? People come with many different kinds of diseases like hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis, infectitous diseases but the most common one I can say is hepatitis B. It is one of our leading health care problems in our settlement
and in our Tibetan community And tuberculosis is next. Among the older population we have diabetes and hypertension,
these are the main problems. Our PHC provides various health care programmes
like an immunisation programme for the kids. And we follow the Indian immunisation schedule we vaccinate the young kids and babies according to
the national immunisation schedules. We have mother and child care programme. Are you able to be effective to work under these conditions? Well, it is difficult sometimes but with the existing facilities,
me and our health staff, we try to do our best but it is not enough because there is a big population of monks and nuns and other Tibetans
and poor Indian population and we still need much improvement. We are facing many challenges but we try to make the best of it. We get many kind of patients and many of them need indoor treatment. We don’t have indoor facilities. Because of lack of facilities we have to refer them even for basic investigations like ultrasound we have to refer them and the patient has to go
as far as thirty minutes to go to these hospitals. What is your overall vision for this Tibetan Health Care Center? we have like three aims in three steps. The first would be to make
improvement in the already existing facilities. First thing is that. And second is, all our health care workers are getting very low salary. So that is a very concerning issue. And third aim is to have a proper functioning hospital with proper beds and indoor facilities and a better laboratory. What does that mean for your personal life ? Well personally, I am staying here at the PLC itself in the first floor. Me and all the rest of the staff and their families,
they are staying in the first floor of our Health Care Center. The ground floor is the health Care Center itself. That’s unusual! Yes, it must be so, yes. Does this work for you? It sometimes gets difficult. There is no other option right now. Personally I would like to have my own home and live separately but we cannot afford another house. So right now we are staying here in the PLC. How do you see a medical care assured
in this region on the long term ? In the long term I see a proper functioning hospital
which has indoor facilities which has a good laboratory where all kind of health problems can be managed because our population really, really needs it. Would you be employing local Tibetan people to work
in this hospital as well as Tibetan specialists ? Oh yes, we would love that, we would be wanting that in fact! What do you think: How much would this project
cost in total ? Do you have an idea ? No, I have no idea. Maybe lots of money. Would any of this money come from Indian government or Tibetan exile government or local communities or from anywhere else in the world? No, there is no money from here or from Tibetan government
in exile because we are already short of money. No sources, no. So you are relying entirely on sponsorship
or raising this money from unknown source. Yes, we are relying totally on the sponsors. If there woul€˜d be any other sources we can think of,
we would try but right now… Do you have a personal message for sponsors? I can assure the sponsors that their money will be used in a proper way. It will not be wasted but used as they intend for building the hospital for improving the salary of the hospital staff and this will help the community in the long run. our community with 10.000 local people. And I can assure that this money will not be wasted
in administration and other activities. it will be totally benefitting the local people and the Tibetan community and the monks and nuns. Do you personally have a special link to the monastic traditions
and providing them with help ? Are you a Buddhist practitioner ? Oh yes, I’€˜m a Buddhist, I belong to the Nyingma lineage. And times and times again we do offerings to the monasteries, me and my parents. I don’t have too much money but as much as I can, we do offerings. Thank you very much for this Interview, Dr. Tenzin Dechen. Thank you, Anne. Thank you for coming here,
for your concern and your valuable time!

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