Dr Bhagwan Koirala, God for the poor
The former Executive Director and Chief of Cardiac Surgery of Shahid Gangalal National Heart Center, Bansbari, Dr. Bhagwan Koirala – MD, is one of the top heart (cardiac) surgeons in Nepal. Also serving as the Associate professor of Surgery at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, Koirala was born in 1960 in Darunga, Palpa. He is also known as ‘one man show’ sometimes for his sincerity, honesty and commitment towards his job. He has been successful to live up to his name Bhagwan, which means ‘God’ in Nepali, as his initiative for the children has given him the status of god for the poor and underprivileged parents and children.
He completed his intermediate level education in Nepal and did his graduation from Ukraine. He traveled to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases of Dhaka University, Bangladesh for his post-graduate degree and went to the United States for his Medical Licensing Exam. This humble doctor credits his entire team on all the commendable surgeries and charity work the hospital is involved with. One who has done more than two thousand heart operations in the past four years is loved by the public for his charity towards the child heart patients. His objective or the motto for the work is stated by the following sentence “No child of this country shall die of heart disease because of poverty.”
He chose heart because of the encouragement given by his teachers and due to his family background although he is the only doctor in the family. Since his certificate level, he had the idea of choosing heart, however, he did not tell anyone as he wasn’t sure of himself. Rather he worked hard and today, he has achieved the position, not only in medical field but also in people’s heart, which the doctors would give anything for.
The cardiovascular disease is a growing problem not only in Nepal but almost in every third world countries. His initiative has, however, given a hope to the people (children) that they could be cured of heart diseases (curable diseases) even if they do not have enough money. Although there are some complicated cases that require help from the outside, he states that the people of Nepal do not have to go abroad for surgery as a compulsion as most of the problems seen in the patients here are curable within the country.
He served as the administrator and full time practicing surgeon at Shahid Gangalal National Heart Center after which he joined the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital as director (by the end of 2012). He is also involved in different projects, drives and campaigns to be able to raise funds and charity for the needy patients. He is also the general secretary of his professional society, The Cardiac Society of Nepal and is also involved with other professional international and national organizations. He is also involved with an organization named Bal Dhadkan which is totally dedicated to child health care. He performs around 300 to 400 child heart surgeries out of total 800 surgeries. The hospital is working with the Nepali community and business groups about whatever they can do to assist the surgeries of the child patients who are unable to pay the fees for the service. Although they cannot provide the services to all the children in the country, they are trying hard not to refuse surgeries and treatments to those children who come there and have no money. However, they lack in resources as they are totally based on the revenue collected by themselves and have no support as such from the government. Some operational cost comes from the National Health Tax Fund but the major share is their (hospital) own. The government, however, bears nine to ten percent of the operational costs and offers grant for infrastructure development. Jayanti Trust and The Hearts Club are also involved in the project and they are also associated with an American organization called Direct Relief International that is linked with hospitals in forty-two different countries and although The Rotary Club, International Friends, NGOs, and INGOs, donate a lot of disposables for the cause, there aren’t any exclusive donors. Also other volunteer involved directly with the hospital is a nearby trust named Chalise Trust that provides volunteers to guide the patients there. They also have the Lincoln School Community Service Project involved who has developed a children’s play room and are basically replacing toys that children can take away after they are discharged.
Dr Bhagwan Koirala is one of the most important heart surgeons in Nepal who has not only been successful to start the fight against the heart diseases in Nepal but has also given hope to the poor parents who feared the death of their children by heart diseases due to the lack of money. He has become their god.