Insight Lecture - Running a Clinic for Foreigners in Kathmandu
M.D., M.Sc., Buddha Basnyat
Nepal International Clinic/ Patan Hospital, Kathmandu
Kathmandu is a fantastic tourist destination. However 2 questions are inevitable upon your return. Did you have a good time and did you get sick? This talk will focus on both the aspects with pictures of mountains and friendly people and some of the illnesses that may be encountered by a tourist in the Nepal International Clinic. Many sick tourists visit the Nepal International Clinic which has been in existence now for over 20 years. Its main focus for treatment has been two very disparate group of illnesses, namely travellers' diarrhea and mountain sickness. To effectively help the tourist we try to properly ascertain the aetiology of the gastroenteritis, and differentiate the benign acute mountain sickness from the more life threatening high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edemca (HACE).

If pre travel advice is the main emphasis of travel clinics in the Western world, in the Nepal International Clinic, we actually see the patients that either did not follow the pre travel advice or fell ill despite the advice. We see tourists literally and figuratively in many different shapes and sizes too. One of the most important things our staff is good at is to try to make the sick Western tourist feel at home because being ill in a far away land can have important psychological implications that may not be apparent at first.

Wellness of the traveller is also our aim. To that end we have been administering useful, relevant vaccines to travellers to Nepal. The clinic is well stocked for example, with important vaccines like the rabies vaccine together with the human rabies immuneglobulin (HRIG). Other relevant vaccines like Japanese encephalitis, varicella, typhoid, hepatitis A etc are also easily available at the clinic.

Finally the clinic is well known in helping to carry out research in infectious diseases and altitude sickness; many of these researches have been published in peer reviewed journals. Some important findings resulting from this research work will also be discussed during the course of this presentation.