Tourists trekking the mountains of Bhutan can expect themselves in the company of guides trained in medical care. Should there be any mishap or fatal accidents, their guides will be equipped to treat and care for them like healthcare workers. Rotary Club of Thimphu with support from the Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences trained 26 tour guides recently.
They are trained to care for tourists during emergencies, especially in remote areas where access to professional healthcare services is not possible.
The Chairman of the Guide Association of Bhutan said there were incidences where a few people had been injured and even died due to unpreparedness in such situations.
“There were few cases where people have succumbed to even injuries. Some people even died because of altitude sickness. Few tourists have died, even one or two trekking crews also have died and the other there were also a lot of injuries where they have broken their legs and limbs and the guides were not professionally trained to do splinting in those things,” said Garab Dorji, Chairman of the Guide Association of Bhutan.
The trainers said the comprehensive training which is the first of its kind in Bhutan is important for guides in the country given the rugged trekking trails.
“We have done this kind of basic program, which is not purely for the guides, some generic kind of programs but this time this is purely focused on tour guides and it is intensive. So it’s a four days course whereby we take the guides through the theory as well as a lot of practical aspects of first aid management in the wilderness,” said Dr Phub Tshering, the Head and Neck Surgeon of the JDWNRH.
“There were many, many times guides find themselves in situations where they were far away from roads and there might not be helicopter weather and there might not be any transport. And so having some knowledge in how to treat clients in those hours, or sometimes days before they get to the hospital, I think it is gonna be for the guides to also increase safety for their clients and tourists coming to Bhutan,” said Dr Astrid Haaland from the University of Utah, USA.
In the following months, the medical staff will be training the rest of the tourist guides as well. The course is supported by The Rotary Foundation, The Rotary Club of Honolulu Sunset, based in the US.
Edited by Phub Gyem