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Dr Mahesh Shah Shudi - TLM Hero

Dr Mahesh stands in front of Anandaban Hospital in a doctor's jacket and a traditional Nepali hat

There was a time Dr. Mahesh Shah couldn’t see a path to become a doctor. When he finished his Intermediate of Science (I.Sc.) with a focus on Biology in 1971, he put forth an application for Bachelors of Medicine, Bachelors of Surgery (MBBS). But during the same year, the Government of Nepal changed the existing education system and introduced new reforms. Reforms, which put people like Dr. Shah who had studied under the old education system at a disadvantage. It was only 14 years later that Dr. Shah would get a chance to become a doctor. In 1985 AD, the Russian Culture Exchange announced a scholarship program for MBBS students and Dr. Shah was amongst the few participants selected to take part in the exchange.

Since then, Dr. Shah has changed with the changing landscape of Anandaban Hospital. In the three decades he has worked as a Dermatologist, Dr. Shah has seen thousands of patients, transformed hundreds of livelihoods, and helped not just Anandaban Hospital, but The Leprosy Mission Nepal grow into the organisation it is today. He currently serves as the Acting Medical Director of the hospital and is equally involved in providing care and research. His work has garnered attention from peers across the world and he was awarded the Senior Research Award from the Government of Nepal in 2016 and Swasthya Khabar Health Award in 2023 for his contribution towards Sustainable Development Goals 3: Good Health and Well-Being.

But despite all of the things he has seen and been a part of, Dr. Shah finds his greatest joy in being a small part of his patient’s life.

“What is happiness? What is satisfaction? There has been no greater happiness in my life then seeing my patients do well in theirs. Some of my patients come visit me from around the world, others I see regularly, some talk to me when they see me on the street, others don’t, but none of that matters to me. I am happy to be an observer in my patient’s life, just passing through their moments of happiness, present in the moment of need.”