Professor Doctor Sachey Kumar Pahari MBBS (Patna), DTM&H (London), MRCP (Edinburgh & Glasgow), FRCP (Edinburgh) (1934-2015) popularly known as Dr. SK Pahari was a pioneering British-trained physician who, along with a handful of foreign trained Nepali doctors and medical scientists, helped lay the foundations of modern medicine in Nepal.
He was among the first Nepalese doctors to qualify as a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom in early1960s. He returned to Nepal soon after his graduation and embarked on an illustrious career spanning five decades during which time he helped extend the reach of modern medicine to millions of Nepalese across the length and breadth of the country.
In 1968 when the late King Mahendra suffered a heart attack while on a tour of western Nepal, Dr. SK Pahari was among the first Nepali physicians to be flown in by a special flight to attend to the ailing monarch. Under Dr. SK Pahari’s care and medical advice, King Mahendra made a full recovery. This was the start of Dr. SK Pahari’s long tenure as initially the unofficial and later as the official Royal Physician of Nepal, becoming the first Nepali to hold this title. Yet, even at the peak of his 25-year service as the Royal Physician, Dr. SK Pahari’s professional instinct and commitment to serve as doctor to the common people of Nepal was not overlooked. Even as he attended to the health of Nepal’s monarchs, Dr. SK Pahari maintained a full working schedule as a senior consultant in the department of Medicine at Bir Hospital, the nation’s chief multi-specialty hospital.
As Royal Physician, he accompanied Nepali monarchs and visiting international guests to every corner of the geographically, ethnically and culturally diverse country. Outside of Kathmandu, thousands were succumbing each day to completely curable and preventable diseases. In response, he advised King Birendra and convinced the Royal Palace to permit him to establish and operate mobile medical camps during the annual extended Royal visits to various remote districts of Nepal. He coordinated with other medical specialists and specialty hospitals and invited them to participate in these free, State sponsored medical camps organized for the benefit of those who had no means to seek medical treatment in the cities.

Over a period of 25 years, he oversaw and coordinated hundreds of such 2-3 month long free medical and surgical camps in all parts of Nepal.

Over a period of 25 years, he oversaw and coordinated hundreds of such 2-3 month long free medical and surgical camps in all parts of Nepal. Such camps provided not only immediate medical treatment to millions of patients of meagre means, but also gave local people the confidence and connections they needed to be able to follow up with specialists and trained doctors at the District Headquarters and Kathmandu, for chronic ailments and new ailments among friends and relatives. Dr. SK Pahari was instrumental in securing the recognition of the Medical Council of India (present day National Medical Commission) which was most critical for Nepal’s premier medical institution, the IOM. This official recognition by the Medical Council of India opened the door for other international medical regulatory bodies to recognize Nepal’s incipient medical education.
After 25 years as the Royal Physician and over 30 years of service in Nepal’s top magnet hospital, many people in his shoes would have looked forward to a well-earned retired life. But Dr. SK Pahari was an institution builder and visionary who perceived that the infrastructure for medical education in Nepal remained strained and inadequate well into the early 1990s. He was concerned, in particular, with the fact that nearly all the private medical colleges licensed to establish and operate in Nepal were funded through foreign investments and non-Nepali management teams. He was convinced that Nepal possessed a sufficient pool of talented, specialized and dedicated medical educators and practitioners to found and sustain entirely Nepali-funded and Nepali-run medical college. Armed with this conviction he invested the first five years of his retired life to bring together a critical mass of veteran Nepali doctors and led them on a mission to establish Nepal’s first medical college using Nepali capital and human resources.
Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital (NMCTH), Dr. SK Pahari’s brainchild and the result of a remarkable collaborative effort among some of Nepal’s most senior medical doctors, was established in 1997 as the first private, Nepali-funded and managed non-profit medical college and teaching hospital. Starting with the first batch of medical graduates in 2004, Nepal Medical College has graduated on average of 75 medical doctors each year, adding to the pool of medical doctors sorely needed to serve Nepal’s growing population. Dr. SK Pahari remained as the Executive Founder Chairman of Nepal Medical College until 2009.
Dr. SK Pahari also held numerous other important roles in Nepal including as Chairman of the Social and Welfare Council (SWC), the President of the Nepal Medical Association, Vice Chairman of the Nepal Medical Council (Chair being directly from Government), Chairman of the Nepal Health and Research Council and the United Nation’s Physician in Nepal. Dr. SK Pahari was also a Founder Chairman of Norvic International Hospital, a state-of-the-art, private specialist cardiac facility in the heart of Kathmandu City.

Love for Arts

Aside from the realm of medicine, SK Pahari also expressed his unconditional love for Nepal through folk music, literature, and poetry, all of which he harbored great passion for throughout his life. As an acclaimed lyricist, his pieces were sung by celebrated Nepali icons including Tara Devi and Amrit Lal Shrestha (Nati Kaji), notably in album Deu Chuli Ra Barchuli, released by SK Pahari and his social worker wife Sabi Pahari.
Dr. SK Pahari believed in Nepal and in the potential of the Nepali people who, given the opportunity, could achieve great things for themselves and serve their communities and the nation. He perceived this potential to be hinged upon being able to enjoy good health and upon being rooted within one’s cultural traditions. In keeping with these dual passions of Dr. SK Pahari, The Sachey Foundation is committed to honoring and advancing his legacy by recognising and supporting individuals and institutions with resources and platforms otherwise unavailable to them for excelling in medicine or the arts.