-- BY KRISHANA PRASAIN
While there are numerous pathological laboratories spread across the Kathmandu Valley, the quality of service is a major concern for the people who visit these facilities. In a crowded market, however, there is one pathology lab which has been providing international standard services to Nepalis for the past two years. Centrally located at Jawalakhel, Samyak Diagnostic is the first internationally accredited pathology lab in Nepal. “Our pathologists are available full time so we provide consultation to the patients if they have any queries regarding the test reports,” says Dr Keyoor Gautam, Consultant Pathologist and Chairman of Samyak Diagnostic.
Established in 2014, the ISO lab provides routine tests along with highly specialized ones using world class equipment. “We are providing rare test services to our clients,test samples of which are usually sent outside the country,” informs Gautam. The lab’s Glycated Hemoglobin HbA1c test for diabetic patients uses the global standard method of testing which is done through a machine costing Rs 2.2 million. “We use the global standard HPLC equipment for every type of test,” says Gautam.
From kidney tests, to tests for uric acid patients, the diagnostic centre has also, for the first time in Nepal, introduced a liquid-based technology test for the uterus. The lab provides specialized tests such as Immune Florescence ANA, DSBNA alongside other tests for uric acid patients using world class equipments. “We are the first to introduce this technology in Nepal,” says Gautam, while also adding that the lab has carried out many pioneering works in the field of pathology.
The lab also provides counseling to patients. “We ask doctors for further tests if required which are based on earlier tests,” mentions Gautam. “We have developed a two way communication system which is not available at other health labs.”
Besides the Kathmandu Valley, Samyak Diagnostic receives test samples from locations as far apart as Nepalgunj, Birgunj and Biratnagar. With over 70,000 patients a year, the pathological lab has also been organising health camps to generate awareness about various health issues.
“We took the pioneering step and urge others to follow suit. The ISO accreditation is a big step for the whole country and motivates others like me to take the step,” says Gautam.
“We are the best in quality service, affordability and timely reports”
Please tell us something about yourself.
I finished my schooling from St. Xavier’s and completed my bachelors and MBBS from the Philippines. I received my MD in Pathology from KMC, Bangalore through Kathmandu University. I also took a training course on Oncopathology from Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. I’ve worked as a lecturer at Nepal Medical College and was department head at Grande Hospital and established the pathological lab there. Similarly, I also established the Grande City Clinic in Jamal as well. After working in Grande for one and a half years, I started my own business.
What made you leave your job at a reputed hospital and start Samyak Diagnostic?
One key motivating factor for me was to establish an ISO certified pathological lab in Nepal. I wanted to establish a centre which would provide world class service to Nepalis. I started Samyak Diagnostic to meet these needs.
Why did you choose to study pathology?
It’s true, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Technology (BMLT). Also one of my relatives, who is a doctor, used to say that Nepal needs good pathology experts and this motivated me to choose the subject.
How is your company different from other diagnostic labs?
We are the first ISO 15189:2012 certified pathological lab in Nepal. Reports from here therefore are trusted globally and treatments are conducted on the basis of our reports. We have full-time dedicated pathologists to supervise the work. We are the best in terms of the quality of service, affordability and timely reports.
What are your future plans?
To mark our second anniversary in September, we are opening a collection centre in Gathaghar, Bhaktapur. We are also opening a branch in Kathmandu too. The branch will be a dedicated centre with the addition of Histopathology and Gastrointestinal (GI) Pathology services. We will start this centre in either September or October. Over the next six months we plan to expand our services outside the valley by setting up collection centres.
What’s the current situation like for pathology labs in Nepal? How much does it earn a year?
People don’t know too much about the quality of the pathology labs in Nepal at present. When the level of awareness rises, people will search for accredited labs for quality assurance.
Pathology labs are doing business ranging from Rs 10-100 million annually. With the strong business potentials, foreign investors are also showing their interest in this sector.
What message would you like to convey to the next generation of pathologists?
I would like to use a quote by the late US President John F. Kennedy where he says, “If not us, who? If not now, when?” If we do not do anything now, in the next five years, there will be more foreign labs and hospitals in Nepal which will be to our detriment. I made a business decision to leave my salaried job. If I had not made the move then Samyak Diagnostic would not have received an ISO accreditation. I took up the challenge and it’s been two successful years for us. The next generation of pathologists also needs to take up the initiative otherwise it will be hard to prosper and succeed. In the long-term, though, I see a sector full of opportunities.