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Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha: Man who started an exemplary hospital

Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha: Man who started an exemplary hospital
Quick facts Born on May 1960 in Dhulikhel  Went to Sanjiwani School, Dhulikhel

Completed Doctor of Medicine from University of Vienna, Austria 

Completed Specialization in Surgery from Hospital of Vorarlberg, Austria  Established Dhulikhel Hospital in 1996  When I lost my mother at the age of 10, I didn’t understand why she died. As I grew older, I became obsessed with the idea of saving people from their sufferings. What a wonderful impact it would be to them as well as their families? I never had a doubt about the choice of my career. I wanted to become a doctor. It was almost an impossible dream because I was born and raised in a small village. But I never gave up on my dream.  I completed my intermediate in science (Isc) from Amrit Science College in Kathmandu and reached out to various international institutions so that I could study medicine. I was finally accepted by the University of Vienna. The 15 years I spent in Austria was a transformative time for me. I consider myself fortunate to have received the opportunity of going to a prestigious university. Besides academic learning, I also learned a lot from the people, culture and institutions there.  Of course, there were challenges, especially due to the language barrier, but I overcame them by sheer dint of hard work. If you desire something strongly enough and commit to it, nothing will be insurmountable.  My decision to return to Nepal and start a hospital was founded on my childhood dream of helping those who are suffering. I didn’t have resources to open a hospital, but what I had was the determination and the goodwill of many friends. Dhulikhel Hospital started as a pioneering community hospital in Nepal with the vision of imparting quality health service to the poor. We were the first institution that provided high quality service to all, irrespective of their financial background.. To this day, we have been working with the same spirit. We now run not just the central Dhulikhel Hospital, but also 18 rural outreach centers across Nepal. Through these centers we provide basic healthcare services and run programs related to community development and holistic approach to health. We also work closely with the government and other organizations to enhance healthcare through training and other partnership programs.  Today, Dhulikhel Hospital serves around 700,000 patients every year. We have managed to build centers of excellence in several specialties and are on our way of expanding them. Nothing is more gratifying than to see that our own team delivers world-class services. We are also engaged in quality education in the field of health sciences and cutting-edge research works. All of this was made possible by our outstanding, dedicated team of about 1700 people. We work together as a family. Our approach is simple: Do little good every day and the larger things will take care of themselves. We faced many challenges and survived them with this simple approach. Our team came together and worked relentlessly during the 2015 earthquake and Covid-19 pandemic. We faced severe financial hardship during the pandemic, but we didn’t lay off a single staff. Instead, we chose to share whatever resources we had. The bond, affection and care between the team members is our greatest strength. Our well-wishers and supporters from Nepal and abroad have been our greatest assets.  I also worked as the vice-chancellor of Kathmandu University for eight years. This experience gave me the opportunity to contribute to the field of education and take the varsity to newer heights. I believe there is a lot we have to do to improve the education sector and link it to the employment opportunities and entrepreneurship, so that the Nepali youths get the chance to learn and earn here in their own country, rather than go toil in foreign lands. It pains me seeing young Nepalis leave the country for employment.  Overall, I am an optimistic person, who believes that Nepalis can do great things in Nepal itself. To anyone who disagrees, I tell them to come visit Dhulikhel Hospital. Nepal is a beautiful country and the people here are amazing. What we need is to build teams and organizations with clarity of vision, culture of care and collaboration, and finally, the incessant pursuit for excellence. [caption id="attachment_35907" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha with a patient during the initial days of Dhulikhel Hospital.[/caption] About him Bel Prasad Shrestha (Cousin) He has been different since his childhood. He always excelled in whatever he did. Dhulikhel Hospital would not have opened if not for his determination to build a good medical facility for the disadvantaged. No one thought this institution would be this huge and serve millions of people one day. Then again, he is a man for whom the sky’s the limit. He continues to surprise and inspire us all.  Dr Rajendra Koju (Colleague) Dr. Ram was a senior at my school. From the school days, I thought he was destined to do something great. You could see that he was not like other students. It has been a great pleasure and honor for me to work alongside him at Dhulikhel Hospital. The journey we have had has been nothing short of spectacular. He is my friend, a mentor, a person who deserves all the love and respect. Dirgha Raj Shrestha (Friend) He is a visionary in my eyes, a hardworking and committed person with a big dream. He leads others by example. His dedication and diligence motivate the people around him. He is a man of strong character and capacity to make his dream projects come true. I admire his commitment to provide quality healthcare to the poor and marginalized communities.