Helping Women of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
 
 
Qinghai Province is the second-poorest province in China and suffers from a harsh climate and landscape due to high altitude and proximity to deserts. Women living in these remote areas (usually nomadic) pay little or no attention to their own health. This neglect happens for many reasons:
 
  • The hardships of daily life and distance to medical care
  • Women’s health does not have priority in the scheme of family finances.
  • Culturally, women’s reproductive and sexual organs and functions remain a taboo subject.
 
Consequently, they are ignorant of issues or reluctant to seek medical help. This lack of awareness and traditional mindset, especially relating to women’s diseases, results in unnecessary illness and sometimes death.
 
     Qinghai-Tibetan plateau home to nomadic minorities
 
       Harsh climate and landscape of remote rural areas
 
The Rotary Club of North Sydney, in partnership with the Qinghai Social Work Association, created the Qinghai Women’s Health Project with the aim to provide:
 
  1. Medical gynaecological examinations to women (of childbearing age and willing to be part of this project) in rural areas of Qinghai, so they could receive the relevant treatment without delay.
  2. Education to raise the awareness of gynaecological diseases and their prevention. These included improved personal hygiene, safer sexual practices and better knowledge of disease symptoms.
 
     Nomad women reading our education pamphlet
 
       Doctor taking an ultrasound of a young woman
 
With the local reach of the Qinghai Social Work Association, local doctors and nurses, the Rotary Club of North Sydney facilitated the delivery of gynaecological examinations to 4,500 women in the remote counties of Guide and Huangyuan, Qinghai. Of these women, a staggering 4,323 were found to have gynaecological diseases.
 
Within these, there was 1 life-threatening case of cervical cancer, and well over 1,600 women had conditions that, without treatment, put them at a higher risk of infertility, childbirth issues, or developing ovarian or cervical cancer.
 
Testing for diseases
 
The free education and pamphlets given to participants by local female doctors were invaluable. They enabled these nomadic women to understand the causes of common gynaecological diseases, as well as self-detect conditions early so they know when to seek medical attention independently in the future.
 
Educating women on gynaecological diseases & prevention
 
Preventing the occurrence or development of women’s diseases means the women of Qinghai can live longer and healthier lives.
 
Nomad family visit
 
This project was managed by Lily Lee, Samantha Lee, and Jiji Lee. If you'd like to know more, please contact Samantha Lee.
 
We would like to thank the following people who made this project possible:
  • La Zhuan Yuan from Qinghai Social Work Association
  • PDG Barry Philps from Rotary Foundation, District 9685
  • John Taylor, Jenny Thomas, Doug Garner, David Field (President) from Rotary Club of North Sydney
  • Maria Chan from Rotary Club of Chatswood International