KATHMANDU: Have you ever wondered who makes all the equipment used by doctors in the treatment of patients? They are the Biomedical Engineers who design and develop the devices used in hospitals, clinics and other health institutions and also conduct related research works.
And they attain the qualification after completing Biomedical Engineering — a branch of engineering course which helps medical doctors by developing and inventing tools required in health check-ups and treatments.
In Nepal, College of Biomedical Engineering and Applied Sciences (CBEAS) affiliated to Purbanchal University is the only college that has been providing Biomedical Engineering course since 2001 (2058 BS). But as the college only offers Bachelor’s in Engineering Biomedical Engineering — BE (BME), students need to go abroad to pursue Master’s and PhD in this subject.
Knowing the course
It has not been long that the Biomedical Engineering emerged as a course globally. It was in the 80’s that the course was developed after researches suggested the need of biomedical engineers for development and maintenance of devices required for health treatment of people, as per Murari Binod Pokhrel, Chief Administrative Officer of CBEAS.
Pokhrel informs, “Biomedical engineering includes engineering of all kinds of therapeutic and diagnostic medical equipments — MRI, CT Scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound, ECG, TMT, et cetera and implantable devices like pacemakers, heart valves, artificial joints and more. Meanwhile, tissue engineering — repairing or manufacturing new human tissues and organs from cells acquired from the patient also comes under biomedical engineering.”
Providing more insight into the contents of the course, he adds, “In this course, students also need to study about human anatomy, physiology and diseases as well as various engineering disciplines such as computer engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering and more. It is a complex subject requiring knowledge on mathematics and biological sciences.”
Also known as Clinical Engineering, “Biomedical Engineering is a multi disciplinary course and is applied science where medicine and engineering courses are combined together,” as per Bikash Bahadur Shrestha, Senior Biomedical Engineer and Lecturer at CBEAS.
The course is designed into eight semesters and takes four years to complete. The cost for the whole course is around
Who is eligible?
Students who have passed +2 in Science stream or I Sc with Mathematics or Biology as majors are eligible to apply for admissions into Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering at CBEAS as per Pokhrel.
There are 50 seats allocated for students of each semester and “10 per cent of our students get scholarship on merit basis. Out of that 10 per cent, five per cent quota is for Janajati/Dalits while remaining five per cent is for other students,” Pokhrel reveals.
And those five per cent students who fall under the quota of Janajati/Dalit get 100 per cent discount in their tuition fees, while other five per cent get 80 per cent discount in tuition fee.
Exploring the scope
In the context of Nepal, a number of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics are being established, so Biomedical Engineering is a field with many opportunities as per Shrestha. And the teachers and students of this subject are confident that after completing Biomedical Engineering, one can work in the hospitals as manager for maintenance and management of hospital equipment, at manufacturing companies, government hospitals and more.
Lal Babu Khadka, a student of BE (BME) Ist semester at CBEAS shares, “The students of biomedical engineering have a worldwide scope because this subject is related to a technical field.”
Sajina Shakya, Assistant Lecturer at CBEAS and also one of the students of the first batch of BE (BME) in Nepal echoes a similar view, “There are many hospitals and clinics in Nepal. As the world is moving ahead with new technologies and devices used in medical fraternity, the need for biomedical engineers is emerging day by day.”
The demand of biomedical engineers is high in foreign countries and one can get scholarship for higher studies, as per Pokhrel
Despite the products of this course having a demand at the national and international level, the government hospitals in Nepal have not allocated any separate designation for biomedical engineers like the way it is done in case of civil or electronic engineers. Shakya reveals, “There are no rules and regulation for placement of biomedical engineers in government or private hospitals in Nepal. In other countries, there must be one biomedical engineer on standby to look after the machines that the doctors are using during operation.”
However, showing a positive light on this issue, Pokhrel informs, “The Ministry of Health has researched about biomedical engineering subject and its positive impacts in Nepal’s medical field and a proposal for health act about the determining the level and numbers of biomedical engineers in government posts is in the process.”
Besides this, for a competitive and better results in biomedical engineering “there should be other colleges affiliated to other universities as well” as per Shrestha.
Samriddhi Sharma, pursuing BE (BME) VIIth Semester complains, “Due to the course being new, the position of biomedical engineers is still not known in the market . And there is no institution in Nepal where we can pursue Master’s or PhD.”