Since childhood, Dr. Shakya had a dream of becoming a doctor. She chose reconstructive surgery because she finds it rewarding to witness immediate changes in patients. Dr. Shakya has been a part of the Surgical Sight Smart Glass Program since 2020 and is currently working alongside her mentor, Dr. Lori Howell, on cases involving cleft lip, cleft palate, and craniofacial conditions.
Nepal is ranked #61 in terms of global healthcare, with a population of 30 million people and only 3 surgeons per 100,000 individuals. As a low-to-middle-income country, Nepal faces significant challenges in accessing healthcare, with 25% of the population living below the poverty line, surviving on just 50 cents per day. Geographic difficulties, such as challenging terrain, long distances to clinics, and limited transportation options, pose additional barriers to healthcare access. In fact, approximately 79% of Nepal’s population resides in rural areas. The country’s primary and rural healthcare system is further constrained by a lack of sufficient healthcare personnel, high staff attrition rates, and inadequate supply chain logistics.
Dr. Shakya has personally witnessed the direct impact of her surgical care on the quality of life of her patients and their families, which has deeply resonated with her and continues to motivate her. She shared a story about a two-year-old girl with bilateral facial clefts whom she worked on with Dr. Howell. The girl’s parents were pleasantly surprised by the surgical outcome, as they initially had low expectations. Following the surgery, the girl’s ability to eat and speak improved dramatically. The family felt a sense of relief, knowing that their daughter would grow up with increased confidence, feeling less self-conscious, and being able to interact more comfortably with others at school.
Through her participation in the Surgical Sight Smart Glass Program, Dr. Shakya’s confidence has significantly grown. She values the program’s ability to connect her with surgeons from other countries, allowing for collaborative case discussions, planning, and guidance during procedures. She describes the program as amazing and highly necessary in the present time.