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Dreams only come true for those who dare to dream

To become a surgeon is big achievement but to be a woman and the first liver transplant surgeon of Nepal is outstanding. Meet Dr. Testen Yonjen Tamang, a determined fighter who has always chosen the more challenging path.

Early life…
From a young age, Testen was a diligent student and a spirited social activist. Often she would find herself banging the tables of government officials raising issues of social concern; child rights being at the fore of these issues. She is a gold medalist from AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), India. Much of her time during medical studies was spent working hard, sleeping less and living on Maggie noodles and samosas.

Challenges…
Despite having a supportive family, Testen faced doubt and speculation from even the closest family friends who believed becoming a woman surgeon would mean that she would have less time for family roles which would inhibit her personal life. But she chose to ignore these aspects and continued to have a laser sharp focus on the career she wanted. But the bias continues because despite being a qualified MMBS and MS doctor, Testen and other doctors are yet unable to fulfill the restricted criteria for a liver transplant surgeon made by the Government of Nepal.

Family and Marriage…
Testen found endless support from her family to help her fulfill her dreams. She married at the age of 30 to an anesthesiologist and a very caring and understanding life partner. She is now mother to an 18 month baby girl and was conducting long surgeries till the very last day of her pregnancy. As a doctor, she does not have as much time for her child as she would like. However, her mother in law has been a pillar of support in helping raise their child.

Liver depletion causes and prevention…
There are three leading causes of liver depletion in the world which are alcoholism, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. The major cause in Nepal is the intake of alcohol. Liver is a forgiving organ. Provided that it has not been completely destroyed, a healthy liver can be grown back through simple changes in lifestyle including taking balanced meals, regular exercise and controlling alcohol intake.

HOTC and its contribution…
Human Organ Transplant Center (HOTC) is a government organisation which has been successfully dealing with big chronic diseases, raising important questions and awareness. HOTC has provided cheaper services for renal transplants, urology, nephrology, etc and set up many camps which address the health of needy people.

Problems in the medical field …
The attitude towards medical care is a severe problem in Nepal. Patients lack belief in doctors and mostly prefer to seek foreign medical care. Doctors also tend to curtail treatment to a minimum requirement as they believe that Nepali patients neither understand nor are able to afford elaborate treatment. Any liver related medical treatment requires a big system. The development of this field has been a slow process as it includes several distinct factors for success, these include trained manpower, government policies, the attitude of both doctors and patients.

Dr. Testen Yonjen Tamang is rare woman achiever who works hard to create the life of her dreams. She challenges conventions and does not hesitate to stand up for what she believes in, yet she is also a giver, a nurturer and woman of all heart. Above all she is a dedicated doctor ready to walk the extra mile to make a difference.