Featured Doctor

DHUNGANA, Dr Santosh Kumar

Nepal - The Spice Route chair

Santosh Kumar Dhungana from Nepal is the new chair of The Spice Route- WONCA's young doctors' movement for the South Asia region.

What work do you do?

I am currently working in Bayalpata Hospital, Achham, Nepal. I am currently the medical director. This hospital is located in a very remote area of far west Nepal, where the government health care structure is almost non-existent.

What is health care like at your primary care hospital in Nepal?

Due to the remote location and general poverty of the patients, private sector practice is practically non existent.

As a hospital supported by the government and philanthropy, we provide free health care to all patients. We provide all outpatient and inpatient care and surgical and dental services. In surgery, we do all emergency obstetric surgeries (caesarian section, ectopic pregnancy) and general surgery (appendectomies, loop colostomies) and orthopaedics (cast application, internal bone fixation with k wires, plates and nails).

The motivation for me to work in this remote hospital has been to work for patients in such locations and serve them to the best of my capacity. Another reason that is closer to my heart is finding ways to make healthcare more affordable to the poorest of patient. This is another cause we are constantly exploring here at this hospital. Finding alternate sustainable healthcare funding (like insurance; lowering actual cost of care; extensively training GPs to provide variety of care; use of more paramedic and intermediate level health care workers by training them constantly on the job; finding alternate sources of hospital income like teaching medical students etc)

Being a GP esp serving in a country like Nepal has given me a lot of satisfaction. The variety of care I can deliver with due consideration of quality and accessibility is rewarding. Besides I get to work on ways to make this model of health care more replicable so that similar low and middle income countries can adopt the model. This is one more pleasure I get on a daily basis.

And your involvement with WONCA?

I have been associated with WONCA and its regional bodies from 2012 when I attended the WONCA SAR meeting in Nepal (2012), Bangladesh (2014), Sri Lanka (2016) and WONCA World conference in Brazil (2016). It has been a great learning experience for me. The scope of general practice and the role of the GP has been expanded hugely by the various activities of WONCA on a national level, regional level and global level.

Being chair of The Spice Route, I will be able to take this work to a wider audience and at the same time learn from experiences all over the world. General practice in Nepal encompasses a range of work, not found anywhere else in the world. We as the GP community in Nepal have been able to deliver these services. I would like to take this message across the world and encourage the specialty and specialist of GPs to expand our scope of work and establish ourselves as important pillar of sustainable and affordable health care delivery.

What are your interests outside work?

Out side of work my interest is sociology and current events. I enjoy reading fiction and discoursing the societal changes that have brought historic changes in world history.