Nepali Times
Nepali Society
Dr Upendra’s brainchild



KUNDA DIXIT

In 1983, a young Nepali doctor got a scholarship to specialise in neurosurgery at the renowned Glasgow Neuroscience Institute. On his very first day, he found himself under the tutelage of the professor, Graham Teasdale.

Upendra Devkota remembers seeing famous surgeons from the United States and Canada being in awe of his professor.

But while he learnt the skills and craft of neurosurgery from his guru, Devkota would stay awake nights in Glasgow dreaming of one day building an institute as good in Nepal. It would take more than 20 years but that dream is finally coming true on 12 April when the National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences opens in Bansbari. And Devkota has invited Prof Sir Graham Teasdale to be guest of honour.

It is difficult to imagine that this construction site with bulldozers moving earth will be open for business in two weeks, but Devkota brushes aside skeptics. You can tell this is a labour of love for Nepal's best-known neurosurgeon who on a recent morning was personally supervising the finishing touches: telling the foreman not to scratch the epoxy floor tiles, ordering the lift doors to be widened so beds can be wheeled in, directing carpenters to adjust the reception desk.

One third of the cost of the Rs 250 million hospital is financed through a bank loan for which Devkota has put up his family home as collateral. The hospital has three state-of-the-art operating theatres, a casualty ward and an ICU that can take 11 patients and 65 beds and besides treating patients will also be training Nepali neurosurgeons.

The hospital's layout was designed by the Swiss consulting firm, Baumann, and every tiny detail is carefully planned to meet international standards. There is a central oxygen and compressed air supply for surgical instruments, the vital signs patients is transmitted to nurse stations on wireless systems and their CT scans can be downloaded in operation theatres. The waiting area for relatives is bright and relaxed and even has a multi-denominational prayer room.

Devkota has come a long way from his missionary high school in Gorkha where he was a classmate of Maoist ideologue Baburam Bhattarai. After returning to Nepal he has served at Norvic and Bir and did a brief stint as health minister after the royal takeover of October 2002.

Asked why he returned to Nepal, Devkota replies: "My philosophy is that it is more satisfying to grow vegetables in your own garden than to buy them at Sainsbury."


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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