Dr. Emilie Joos, BISC Associate Director, recently interviewed Dr. Mandeep Pathak, a candidate for the UBC Master of Global Surgical Care program.
Dr. Mandeep Pathak is Director of Trauma and Surgeries with Nyaya Health Nepal, an organization working towards making difference to the health sector in rural Nepal, as well as an active leader in capacity-building in surgical care, via task-shifting, especially in basic trauma care and orthopedic care in rural Nepal.
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Image Source: Dezeen (Photography by: Elizabeth Felicella)
Dr. Pathak played an instrumental role in developing a trauma system in Ridikot, Achham in the Far West region of Nepal. The Bayalpata Hospital has a catchment area of 600,000, serving one of Nepal’s most rural and remote regions.
Dr. Pathak speaks about his path into serving as an orthopedic surgeon in Far West Nepal.
“In the current organization where I was working, they had this position for an orthopedic surgeon. They were working in [Far West Nepal] for 10 years. What they had realized was that there were no people taking care of trauma. No doctors were here, no surgeons in this region, who could take care of trauma. They were looking for an orthopedic surgeon, and that position was vacant for a long time. I was new after my residency and I said: ‘I am trained for doing such kinds of surgery in a resource-limited setting, so why don’t I give a try?'”
Despite having low resources, Dr. Pathak and his team serve a population of 600,000.
“There was one general practitioner and me, so the two of us continued with orthopedic trauma services. Initially, we didn’t have much implants. But … what I found was that more than 50 to 60% of my patients were pediatric patients. The kids, they used to fracture bones and the general practitioners, they were not confident enough to manage them. That’s where I came in. So I started training the general practitioners. I started training the mid-level healthcare providers. Slowly, the people realized that we had a good trauma service at our hospital. Now we get around three districts with around 600,000 population.”
Dr. Pathak reflects on the urgent need for basic surgical care in Nepal.
“Overall, the need is very much in this region, in terms of even basic care. We are the primary health care providers. That’s what we love to call ourselves because we don’t do any advanced surgeries like arthroplasty or sport surgery. We are taking care of basic trauma. The road I told you, the 12 hour drive, it’s not as straight as in other places. It goes through the hills, winding. Every year we have at least two or three bus accidents. There are major accidents where 20-30 people die.”
To hear the full interview, please click on the video below.