Wagga paramedic Steve Trood has returned from his third medical trip to Nepal as part of an international team to help locals needing medical supplies, health checks and treatment.
For three-and-a-half weeks, the team from Australia and America joined local Nepalese doctors and nurses at travelling clinics to reach as many people as possible.
“We’d trek 140 kilometres on foot in a day, which usually takes about eight hours, then set up a clinic at night ready for the people to come the next morning,” Mr Trood said.
Hundreds arrived from surrounding villages, from a nine-month-old baby weighing just three kilograms, to the elderly seeking treatment and pharmaceuticals.
Last year, the team visited the Chitwan region and saw 550 patients. The year before they saw 700 patients and a travelling dentist performed 200 tooth extractions in the Gorkha region.
This year, the team focused on the Lamjung district, which is 185 kilometres northwest of the capital Kathmandu.
“There was a gentleman about 50 who carried his mother for five hours to see us,” Mr Trood said.
“She had back pain and neck pain which isn’t surprising as they carry ridiculous loads on their backs from a young age.
“There was a five-year-old kid scrambling up a hill more than 45 degrees steep, carrying 48 one-litre bottles on his back.”
A paramedic for 14 years in Wagga, Mr Trood said his passion for Nepal came from tragedy and wanting to help.
“It was after the 2005 Nepal earthquake that I wanted to volunteer for the Medical Trek. This third trip back was awesome. It was a really good group of people,” he said.
To be part of the trek, volunteers must be medically trained and pay US$1700, which covers the trek fees, food, paying for porters and the purchase of pharmaceuticals, which are distributed to locals.
Now back home in Wagga, Mr Trood will return to work with NSW Ambulance next week.
“This opportunity has really given me perspective about how to help people, and I will be back next year, hopefully with more people from Wagga,” he said.