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Meet Nepal’s youngest doctor

Meet Nepal’s youngest doctor
Dr Himani Vyas is the youngest doctor of Nepal. The 22-year-old got her bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (MBBS) degree from All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and is now looking forward to pursuing a postgraduate degree. She received the 55th all India rank and the first rank for foreign national category in the Institute of National Importance Combined Entrance Test (INICET), an entrance test  conducted by AIIMS for post-graduate degree enrolment program in India. Born in Biratnagar, Vyas spent most of her life in Kathmandu. She did her schooling from Little Angels’ School and DAV Sushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati School in Lalitpur, and completed her high school from Nasa International College. But never did she once think that she would be choosing a medical career in the future. As is common in case of most Nepali students, Vyas elected to study science because she had a good score. “I took biology because I received good grades on my school days,” she says. “Although there came a time when I wanted to switch to math, my teachers convinced me to continue with biology, and so I did.”

Vyas says she was never into botany, but she was very much interested in zoology, which encouraged her to study medicine.

“I liked knowing about human and animal anatomy, but plants were not my thing.” Vyas studied out of sheer curiosity, rather than with an intent of acing her test. “My curiosity and the habit of doing an in-depth study on the subject of my interest helped me in my exams,” she says. This habit was fostered by her parents, both of them teachers. Vyas’ brother, Dhurv is also a brilliant student in his own right. He discovered an asteroid at the age of 11, while participating in the All-Nepal Asteroid Search Campaign. Her habit of studying different topics to satisfy my curiosity led her to pass the entrance test to pursue MBBS. The same can be said for the ranks she received in INICET. “I honestly never thought I would do MBBS, but somehow I ended up becoming a doctor,” says Vyas, whose interest was engineering. She says while she was still doing her MBBS, she even thought about becoming a researcher. But she is happy that she decided to stick with the study of medicine. But studying to be a doctor and actually working in the field is quite different. This, she learned during her internship in AIIMS, which she completed in Jan 2023. During her internship period, Vyas and her fellow medicine students visited different parts of India to treat patients. “We had no supervisors, and it was up to us to treat all these patients,” says Vyas. “It could be overwhelming at times.” Sometimes, some patients would not make it, and Vyas says confronting their family members was the most difficult part. “We were always told by our teachers that sometimes patients die, that we have to be objective. But when it happens before you and you have to be the bearer of bad news, it isn’t easy.” “It will never get easy,” adds Vyas, “but then you have to stay strong because you have other patients to look after.” Currently, Vyas is looking forward to getting her PG at AIIMS. “It’s a three-year course, and I hope it’ll be fun and I’ll get to learn a lot,” she says. Vyas doesn’t have a specific plan on where she will practice her discipline after getting her degree. She wants to return to Nepal, but at the same time, fears that she won’t be able to do her job effectively due to the lack of proper healthcare facilities in the country. She can only hope that Nepal’s healthcare sector would have developed a lot in terms of infrastructure and resources by the time she completes her studies. “No matter where I start my career, I will eventually come back to Nepal,” says Vyas. “This is my home and this is where I want to be.”