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February Issue

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Doctor speaks Dr. Bhola

Doctor speaks Dr. Bhola Prasad Rijal Consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician Om Hospital The pioneer of IVF in Nepal and a lyricist of over 200 songs, Dr. Rijal is a celebrated name in the medical and music field in Nepal. His Journey began when he got an opportunity to study in Dhaka Medical College, one of the five British medical colleges then. During his stay in Dhaka he had earned fame running a radio program for the Nepalese expats. So in the terminating years of his study, he was offered to stay back in Dhaka. Eventually he came back to Nepal and worked in a government hospital as that was his only intent - to serve the country. Later, he went Dhaka to earn his Post Graduation in Gynecology and returned to Nepal after three years only to learn that his service had been terminated. It was then he joined Teaching hospital which proved to be a great opportunity for him. Since then, he has always regaled the idea of giving back the knowledge he acquired. 18 Versatile | MARCH-CHAITRA 2018

Doctor Speaks The story of Om Hospital. Back in Bangladesh, I saw infertility was a major problem in the Nepalese population there. Almost 15% were childless. Maternal mortality was very high. Issues of infertility weren’t discussed. I wanted to work on that when I came back to Nepal. As I established Om hospital in 2046, we wanted to work on issues that no one was raising. I was the first one to advocate that abortion should be legalized. Everybody was shocked at first. But we slowly tried to raise awareness. It took us thirteen years before it was legalized. Safe abortion is a health right! My team was fortunate enough to deliver the first test tube baby of Nepal. It was matter of pride for us. We are now working against this trend of sex-selective abortion. It is a crime. We have developed a telefilm to aware people against it. Female feticide is illegal and must be stopped. What is your take on the current debate over health business? It would have been best if the ownership of both health education and service was taken by government but that isn’t the case anywhere in the world. It is a great challenge and is nearly impossible. Only Norway has been able to run the health sector like that. You see, when you have given permissions for the private sector to invest and run health business, you cannot dictate harsh terms. Yes, extra advantages should not be taken, but to criticize the whole process of money- making undermines their efforts and investment. Even government hospitals run in a similar way, it is just cheaper because of the budget grants and tax cuts. The major role of government should be in monitoring the health business. A clear vision seems to be lacking. You can’t expect to grow mangoes when you have been planting coconuts. What was your childhood like? I married at a young age. I was 15 then, my wife was 12. I hadn’t even passed the SLC. You might wonder why. It was out of respect for my grandfather Dhurba Raj Rijal. He was a semblance of a god to me. He was the man who spread the light of education throughout the eastern region of Nepal. It was his wish that I married. But even in such a young age, my wife was dedicated that I should study pushed me to go to Venaras and later Dhaka. She had a vision even at that small age. Could you recall a specific memory from your childhood? There was this time when we were studying in Dharan when Dwarika Rijal, my uncle’s son and me went to Chatara in a friends car. But the car went back without us and we had to walk all the miles back to Dharan by ourselves. There was much concern when we reached Dharan through the char koshe jhadis at 11P.M. What is your choice in brands? I have no say in this regard, really. I like whatever product is comfortable to use. Having said that, all three of my sons are living in the west. So they sometimes send me things. Kapil (eldest son) send me this phone 2 years ago. It’s a Samsung S8. I didn't even have a mobile before this. What is the farthest you have ever travelled from home? I’ve been to the USA for the first time back in 1986. That is the farthest. Do you remember any of the mentally tiring or difficult cases you’ve handled? Long ago, I lost one of my patients due to unavailability of blood. Hers was a negative blood type that was not available and it was a really helpless situation. There was nothing we could do about. Although the child survived, it makes me really sad sometimes. So many complicated cases come to me from all over the country. It is difficult. A message to our readers. I hear people talking well of me. Some even call me by the title of Santaneshwor Mahadev. But I disagree to that. We are not gods. God is god. We just carry the blessings to our patients. We all need to see what we can do for others. Be useful for others. Versatile | MARCH-CHAITRA 2018 19

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