Dr. Sanduk Ruit.
KATHMANDU: The countrywide lockdown meant to curb coronavirus pandemic is in the fifth week. With the forefront fighters — health-workers, security forces, and the media as an exception, everyone else is confined at their homes.
When the medics of corona special hospitals are executing their duties living in quarantine, doctors of other hospitals are in a relatively relaxed mood in terms of the work pressure at this time.
Professor Dr Sanduk Ruit, whose sole mission has been to bring eyesight back to people regardless of their ability to pay, and who has restored or given sight to more than 100 thousand people is in slight leisure these days.
A masterful surgeon, he has executed dozens of flawless cataract operations at eye camps over the course of a 12-hour day.
Working tirelessly at the operating table, he used to say: “The surgical chair is the most comfortable place on Earth that I have.” However, now he is passing his time differently.
Holding discussions and consultation with his teammates, replying to the phone and email message otherwise one of the busiest doctors is now spending time with his family members.
Dr. Ruit is closely observing the measures taken for the prevention and control of the pandemic.
His routine is changed by coronavirus pandemic. “I am staying at home abiding the lockdown instruction,” the doctor who is rarely seen at home in other days, told Khabarhub. “I yet hold digital meetings and online conferences from my residence whenever required,” he quips.
He has been studying books of his choice to make the best of the time. Dr Ruit regards it lucky for all Nepalis that the pandemic that had made the most powerful nations of the world kneel down for mercy has not caused any death toll here.
Dr. Ruit who works for hours while executing operations of his patients, sometimes even for 12 hours, regards his surgical chair more comfortable than anything else.
Though he is missing his surgical chair due to lockdown, he is still happy that the lockdown has provided family time for him.
“I have some time for my family members, we pass the time with books, sometimes chatting; in a way compensating my lack of attention to the family due to the busy schedule before,” he said.
Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, the hospital he belongs to on normal days, has offered him some leisurely time as it has been offering only emergency services during the lockdown.
Born on September 4, 1954, to rural, illiterate parents in the remote mountainous village Olangchunggola in the border with Tibet in Taplejung district of northeast Nepal, Dr. Ruit has gone through many hardships in life.
Dr Ruit lost his three siblings from some minor health hazards. He is the only one surviving four children of his parents.
His elder brother died of diarrhea at the age three, one of his younger sisters died of fever at eight, and another sister died of tuberculosis at the age of fifteen.
The hardship he witnessed in his childhood and the poverty induced tragedy taking place right under his nose culminated the desire to make himself of a doctor and help thousands of people deprived of health service due to poverty.
He never forgot the lessons he learned from the hardship of his life. The man of strong determination and hard work acquainted with the sufferings of life thinks Nepal lucky in coronavirus pandemic cases.
“This is the most difficult time in everyone’s life, yet we are lucky, we are not struck much by the pandemic,” he said while speaking to Khabarhub. “The medics, security forces and all people at the forefront of this battle against the pandemic deserve huge applaud for their feat.”
“We seem to get the favor of deity as well though science denies it,” the doctor, who has restored sight to more than 130 thousand people so far, said.
“This is the time to work with a sense of national unity and integrity, the integrity seems missing,” the Ramon Magsaysay Award winner doctor spreading the message of humanity worldwide, said commenting on the mess caused by the lack of determination and integrity among the political leaders and the parties.
He regrets that there seems a misunderstanding among the political parties and requests all to join hands at this moment of crisis.
“There is no alternative to national integrity,” Dr. Ruit said adding, “The political parties should come out from the narrow-mindedness and stand above class, ethnicity, region and geographical boundaries.”
He is optimistic about better collaboration in these days. “It’s not too late yet, provided all sectors collaborated, the pandemic can be curbed more efficiently and effectively,” he added.
He believes that the mobilization of youths will be of great use on such occasions. “We have to take knowledge, health science, management and empathy together to counter such pandemic,” the founder, and executive director of TIO, Dr. Ruit said further: “But, we are still not much able to display it.”
He thinks good management is one of the prime factors to curb and control the pandemic. “Countries like South Korea and New Zealand got control over the pandemic with their joint efforts,” the doctor cited the success story expecting similar attempts here in Nepal.
He feels sad to hear the news of irregularities and corruption on such an occasion. “Irregularities and corruption cases that also on such occasion are regrettable, it’s sinful,” he said.
He advises the authorities concerned to ensure transparency, expand the range of testing and mobilize all possible mechanisms to counter the pandemic.
“Though the condition of corona infected patients so far is not much complicated, we should strengthen the intensive care in the hospital in case the situation gets worsens,” Dr. Ruit who values compassion and humility a lot spoke thoughtfully.