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Macalester College

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples


The villagers of Humla have suffered from unreliable health services and unjust indifference from the Nepali government for too long. Many global health initiatives and international NGOs have tried and failed to step in and make an improvement of health within these villages, because they are lacking an understanding of how these villages are run, what villagers prioritize, and how to continue providing reliable, supervised support. Because of the remoteness of the Humla area, it is difficult for allopathic medicine to be sufficiently provided here, and access to emergency medical resources are limited. Global health organizations such as WHO and UNICEF have made general plans for areas of remote villages such as this to provide allopathic healthcare resources, but many of these decisions are without considering the medical system already in place, the traditions and understanding of medicine of the villagers, and the villagers perception of what healthcare they want/need and would choose from what was provided to them. Changing healthcare in Humla will take many resources and many people, but it most importantly needs dedication and a full understanding of the villagers who are in need of help. Without understanding health as seen from the villagers perspective, it is impossible to know which initiatives will be accepted by the villagers, or how initiatives can be put in place so villagers are able to engage and interact with health services.

In this ISP, I explore health in Humla from the perspective of the villagers themselves. What health services do villagers use and value? What health services aren’t available, but are the most necessary? Who do villagers look to as a medical authority, and how can this person further provide services? I hope to share an understanding of the villagers’ perception of healing and the medical resources available to them, their needs, and modes of healthcare that could be accessible and beneficial to their specific communities.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Learning | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medical Humanities | Medicine and Health | Organization Development | Social and Behavioral Sciences


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