Helping out 'on top of the world'

David Durnford

David Durnford

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A LOCAL company has pledged £15,000 over the next five years to help a midwife programme at a remote mountain hospital in Nepal.

Digital marketing agency Fat Media, which is headed by Kendal-based David Durnford, is helping Kunde Hospital in the Solukhumbu area.

Kunde Hospital was founded by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1966 and is situated 3,840 metres above sea level in the shadows of Mount Everest and serves 8,000 villagers, including Sherpas and mountaineers.

The village of Kunde is one of the most isolated in the world with a punishing six-day (125 km) walk to the nearest road or a 10-hour walk (20 km) to a hillside airstrip.

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Kendal-based Mr Durnford, 46, is a keen traveller and mountaineer who has followed the story of The Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation for many years and has been inspired by its work.

He said: “The money will go towards training and paying for the midwives, specifically to pay for a midwife round because currently pregnant women have to walk two or three hours along rough tracks to the hospital to see the doctor.

“Our funding is to enable a midwife round to be established on a regular basis to the villages - saving women a long and potentially dangerous walk.”

From the early 1960s, Sir Edmund Hillary’s expeditions had a focus on improving the health and social welfare of the people of Nepal, including the improvement of water supplies, the building of schools, bridges and an airstrip at Lukla; in 1966 along with overseas volunteers and local people the Kunde Hospital was built.

Mr Durnforn explained why he chose to support the foundation through Fat Media.

“The work of the Kunde Hospital and the vital service it supplies to the local people is an incredible achievement in itself - it is effectively a hospital on top of the world!

“We wanted to support something different and this project demonstrates continued innovation, dated back incredibly to 1966.

“The hospital is now run completely by local people and with extra donations from supporters like ourselves, new projects such as the Midwife Programme can be realised.”

It is hoped that the ongoing support from Fat Media and other businesses in the UK and around the world will keep the Kunde Hospital running well into the future and allow them to advance even further.

To learn more about the project and the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation visit: www.thesiredmundhillaryfoundation.ca Fat Media has offices in Lancaster, London and Barrow.

Comments (1)

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11:53am Sat 23 Aug 14

davidearnshaw says...

Congratulations David on your and Fat Media's support for Kunde Hospital; last November / December, my wife and I spent 47 days trekking the original Edmund Hilary route through the Solukhumbu from Jiri --- to Everest Base Camp ----- the first part of the trek from Jiri to Lukla, where the airstrip is, was very much "back in time" quiet, remote and untravelled --- Medical facilities are indeed very very sparse, and childbirth is quite a risky occasion ---- I felt totally helpless to to anything when out on the trail, we met a stretcher party ( the stretcher being made of tree branches and blankets tied across ) of 4 young men, carrying a young woman who had 24 hrs earlier had delivered her baby which died --- she was haemorrhaging following the birth ----- they were trying to get her to a distant medical outpost, with minimal facilities --- the walk was at least 48hrs -- not stopping overnight ---- needless to say --- her chances of survival were minimal; a similar story was related to me by a lodge keeper in a small village called Paiya who had lost his wife 8 yrs previously in the same way ---- his baby survived ----- in her memory, he raised funds to build a small clinic there, staffed by his sister ---- a qualified nurse; they tried to get her to the airstrip, -- 2 days walk, but she died en route. Medical / Dental care is so very sparse ( our excellent Nepalese guide knowing my medical background "introduced" me to a few situations along the way ) --- they need all the help they can get; we here in UK are --- well -- so lucky.
Congratulations David on your and Fat Media's support for Kunde Hospital; last November / December, my wife and I spent 47 days trekking the original Edmund Hilary route through the Solukhumbu from Jiri --- to Everest Base Camp ----- the first part of the trek from Jiri to Lukla, where the airstrip is, was very much "back in time" quiet, remote and untravelled --- Medical facilities are indeed very very sparse, and childbirth is quite a risky occasion ---- I felt totally helpless to to anything when out on the trail, we met a stretcher party ( the stretcher being made of tree branches and blankets tied across ) of 4 young men, carrying a young woman who had 24 hrs earlier had delivered her baby which died --- she was haemorrhaging following the birth ----- they were trying to get her to a distant medical outpost, with minimal facilities --- the walk was at least 48hrs -- not stopping overnight ---- needless to say --- her chances of survival were minimal; a similar story was related to me by a lodge keeper in a small village called Paiya who had lost his wife 8 yrs previously in the same way ---- his baby survived ----- in her memory, he raised funds to build a small clinic there, staffed by his sister ---- a qualified nurse; they tried to get her to the airstrip, -- 2 days walk, but she died en route. Medical / Dental care is so very sparse ( our excellent Nepalese guide knowing my medical background "introduced" me to a few situations along the way ) --- they need all the help they can get; we here in UK are --- well -- so lucky. davidearnshaw
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