To this day, Kunde hospital remains a vital healthcare resource for the local Sherpa community and trekkers alike. Situated in the foothills of Everest, Kunde is a much-visited area, especially during trekking season. In 2020, the SEHF turned full-time management over to the Himalayan Trust Nepal, and the hospital is staffed entirely by Sherpa doctors and nurses.
The hospital provides well-rounded care to the residents of the Solo Khumbu region, from vaccine clinics to family medicine to maternal care.
Kunde Hospital History
Sir Edmund Hillary built the Kunde Hospital in 1965-66 with the assistance of the Lion’s Club of Auckland, New Zealand, and Sir Edmund’s friends who were working in Nepal as part of the Himalayan Trust. The New Zealand Government contributed a limited amount financially to this project.
The Himalayan Trust funded, operated and administered the Hospital from 1966 to 1976 (usually husband and wife doctor teams). The late Dr. Max Pearl was the Medical Officer of the Himalayan Trust, and he coordinated all aspects of the working Hospital with Sir Edmund playing a major part in the administration and funding.
In 1975 the late Dr. Pearl and Sir Edmund discussed the funding element of the Kunde Hospital with The Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada (SEHF). It was unanimously agreed that the SEHF would fully fund the Kunde Hospital, and on Dr. Pearl’s suggestion, it was agreed that the SEHF would also supply volunteer doctors on an alternating basis for a two-year period. New Zealand appointed doctors had run the Hospital from 1966 to 1976. It took four years to implement the doctor exchange program but the Canadian funding started in 1976.
Kami Temba Sherpa (now Doctor Kami Sherpa) who worked as a paramedic for 20 years at the Kunde Hospital was accepted into the University of Fiji’s Medical School He then attended the University for four years and he received his medical degree. All this was done on a full Scholarship (now known as Mingma Norbu Scholarships) from the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation. After finishing his internship at Patan Hospital in Kathmandu, Dr. Kami Temba returned to Kunde in 2003. Dr. Kami served as the Senior Medical Officer and Chief of Medicine at Kunde Hospital until 2022, when he was able to semi-retire. He continues to oversee the hospital, where they have one full-time local Sherpa doctor, Dr. Mingma Kanchi Sherpa.