Young Doctors Talk (by SAHARA SHARMA)
KATHMANDU, Feb 3: Back in primary school, everyone asked us one and the only question monotonously: What we wanted to be in future. And we spontaneously burst out doctor! doctor! The answer was almost ubiquities because all of us had vivid dreams of wanting to become a doctor. For some, as they grow into adults, their childhood fantasies vanish like dreams, for others, it will be a dream come true. But, how far will this profession bring along that immense name and fame as instilled right from our childhood? In this edition of gennext, we exchanged some chitchat with doctors who spoke on what it is like to be a doctor. Dr Subash Thapa Magar, 31, Dr Bibek Khanal, 27, Dr Jolisha Singh, 25, and Dr Sailendra Kushwa, 27, joined us in the chit-chat.
Asked if becoming a doctor was absolute aim for them, Dr Jolisha replied in one word: "Completely!" At a glance, Dr Joshila didn't conform to the usual stereotype of a doctor. But as conversations intensified, it became crystal clear that she enjoys and respect the profession very much. Dr Shailendra too has carried the dream for as long as he can remember. "All of us have aims to become a doctor. So was mine and I am here today," he says smilingly. Appearance can be deceiving sometimes. As the conversation progressed, it turned out that among the group, Subash was the eldest and experienced doctor. He was the power pack of the group, extremely vivacious and beguiling. Getting back to the basics, he answered, "I knew this is what I wanted to do" (implying that he was satiated with his profession). And there was yet another doctor - Bibek - who was more of an observer, carrying the look of a sober thinker, who suddenly burst out: "It is probably the esteem attached to the profession that lured me." He, then, went on elaborating and accepting the fact that doctors are bestowed with immense respect and kept in higher social strata.
When asked to comment further, Jolisha replies, "It is probably the toughest job." She then adds, "There is always a pressure, a kind of bondage." When asked to clarify the points, she sighs, adding, "We are expected to talk and walk in a particular way, we are expected to heal all of our patients." Shailendra adds here: "We're taken as if we possess magic or some sort of supernatural power; we can't cure every single patient coming to us. All we can do is to try and we do that." Bibek nods on and says, "We are not God, we can't blow in some magic air and bring back life, we work according to science and do our best to solve our patients' problems." "If it were solely our decision we would heal every sick and wailing person in the country," puts in Subash.
His answers evoked a flurry of questions: Why then our healers are confined to the wards of the modern capital city hospitals alone? Why then do they not take an initiative to go to places where people can't find a doctor? Are there not enough hospitals and doctors in the capital already? "We do understand the need of a medical professional in remote areas but we are helpless," answered Bibek. He elaborated that since the health posts in the villages have no equipment, there is not much that they can do. Subash narrated his own story as to how he once went to a village through an INGO (the name of which he does not wish to disclose) but soon discovered that the health camps set up there had only limited medical facilities. And so he quit.
"I have bought medicines from my own pocket many a times, but how long could I do this?" he asked, looking frustrated. After all, a student on average pays Rs 4 million to complete a medical course and he/she has family to look after, he adds. "We do want to go to villages and serve there but at the same time we demand proper arrangement," Jolisha said. She further said that a few of her friends who are working in remote places have sad stories to tell. "They are as helpless as the patients there without a chance to update themselves on their vocation and latest developments in the medical sciences." "Being there is limiting us to knowledge and what discourages us more is the dismal pay," she argues.