Sunday, May 20, 2018

What’s it Like to Get Medically Treated in Nepal?

It’s different - a lot different and not as pretty. A few years ago I fell and broke/badly sprained my ankle. While at the hospital I needed to use the toilet. No problem. I found a fairly clean ladies restroom, but with a squat, Indian style toilet. How does an old western lady squat on one leg? Knowing the entire ordeal would cost less than $40 helped; my ankle healed just fine.

When you go to a hospital in Nepal you will first have to go to the reception to pay. Yes, pay first, 20 Nrs., for the doctor exam and 20 more for the ‘patient book’ that you’ll need to keep track of. This is the only record of your medical condition. Take care of it and bring it back with you for any follow-up visits. Everything is written in that little book. Next, you go to the exam room, give the assistant your book and wait in the hallway for your name to be called. By the way, they never ask for ID, so it’s a great way to get a completely discreet test or treatment

The Nepali like to go early, but if you go around 11 am you can usually see the doctor without waiting so long. Another reason I like to go a bit later is most of the people are already gone. When they call your name you will step into the exam room. The door is left open and everyone who’s still there will come into the room with you. You’ll hear echoes of your age, where you’re from and especially what’s wrong with you. I’m sure you could ask to have the door closed if you feel uncomfortable or have to take your clothes off. Don’t be shy to speak up.

The doctors speak English and just about all the doctors have been educated in India or Europe. Additionally, doctors from the west come to teach new techniques and bring new equipment.

So after the exam you’ll need to go back to the reception to pay for the next step. Pay for the X-ray and go to that room, then find the appropriate doctor and have another exam, get blood work-up and come back on a certain day, whatever. This is one thing in Nepal that you absolutely need to have a ‘Nepali friend’ to be with you. He can go pay for the next test or procedure and take you to the next room. It’s quite chaotic if you don’t know what to expect. Your guesthouse manager can provide you with a ‘friend’ to accompany you for around $5-10.

Drug treatment center

US doctors don’t even look you in the eye. Nepali doctors will spend as long as you need. You might even find you don’t need a doctor. One expat friend living here tells me she was feeling dizzy and just went to a pharmacy. The pharmacist gave her some medication that she looked up on the web. I know, a bit over the top. I’ve done that many times with a sinus infection, but dizziness in my 60’s would a bit risky. Dizziness is an early symptom just about every disease and brain problem, right?

Although in the past, a person could walk up to any pharmacist and ask for anything and the pharmacist could provide it, times have changed. Nowadays, there are regulations and even sleeping pills need a doctor's prescription. I thought about quieting our barking street dogs with a half a benedryl, but is not available in Nepal and you need to see a doctor to get sleeping pills. Those horrible patches and medications drug dealers use to make the crazy designer drugs are not available here, either. However, you would possibly be able to get such drugs with a well-respected doctor's recommendation. The rules can be a bit more bendable in Nepal.

Here are two scenarios I have in mind. First, a person from the US has chronic back pain from an old injury. He/She comes here and makes a connection with a well-respected doctor in that field. We help the person to get the tests, procedures and medications they need. When they go back home they can take some medications in the suitcase and some in their carry-on. By that time our guest will know how the meds are working for them. They will also have a medical prescription so you shouldn't have a problem traveling with them. If you run out or decide not to come back to Nepal we could ship you some meds via UPS where they deliver them to your door, usually without any tariff. My friend with the pills for dizziness paid 60 cents each, but that is way more than I ever heard of medication costing in Nepal. Your cost to ship them would be $40 max for UPS plus $10 for our staff to get them from the pharmacy and take them to the parcel service, plus the price of the drug (really cheap). You could easily pay via Paypal. 

The second scenario would be a person with a lot of dental work needed and who lives in the cold areas of the US. Other countries are also welcome, but probably won't have so many medical issues. Such a person can come here and get testing and treatments as needed. Our guests can enjoy being catered to and relax. Perhaps you would like to write a book, do some research or volunteer. 

We can keep you busy with whatever you like, trekking, yoga, etc. and the village is so friendly you'll have many friends.

This room even has a TV. It has a ynal on the floor to keep it cleaner.

My suggestion would be to come to Nepal after August 1 if you want to get out of the winter weather. This is the magic date for the maximum time you can be in Nepal on a tourist visa. You can stay here until May 31 of the following year or you can leave March 31 and come back in November for 5 months in a calendar year. A recent couple staying with us at Star View Guest House rent their little house in the countryside in their country for over $500 a week and travel throughout the winter in Asia. Read more...

Our hilltop with a neighbor grazing her goats.

Our Offer: We can provide you with a lovely room with a view, room heater, electric blanket, room fan, attached bathroom (no tub), 24 hour hot water, WIFI, electricity, all the meals you want to eat while you are at the guesthouse, transportation by car for sightseeing and help getting your health needs taken care of. We have knowledge of many hospitals and modalities available in Nepal. I think the more you look into this topic the more you’ll see it in a positive light.

If you’d like to stay with us to take care of such things and get out of the harsh winter we can provide all the things mentioned above from $800 a month on a 6 month contract, including airfare (we will refund you any excess after the airfare is paid for) or $600 a month without airfare or any obligation in case the guesthouse isn’t a good fit for you. We can help you find your own flat if you’d like, as well. Additionally, if this is outside of your budget we can do a work exchange for those who'd like to volunteer, not free but discount.

If this is of interest feel free to reach out to explore it. FrugalTravelsNepal(at) or connect with us on social media.

Twitter: @FrugalTravelsNe

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