Problems remain in govt, doc talks
KATHMANDU, APR 02 – The halting of medical services in majority of the hospitals across the country in support of Dr Govinda KC on Wednesday had no effect on the government, as it remained reluctant to fulfil all of his demands. Dr KC is on a hunger strike at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) for the past 11 days, putting forth a 10-point demand for reforms in the country’s medical education sector.
After a day-long consultations with Nepal Medical Association (NMA) officials and members of civil society, the government representatives—National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Govinda Pokhrel and Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal—arrived at the TUTH on Wednesday night to inform the protesting doctor that the government had agreed to fulfil a majority of his demands. The government has also agreed to form a commission to investigate the decision by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority and Judges on medical education.
But Dr KC refused to back down as he was told the government was still non-committal on sacking of TU office bearers—his key demand.
“This is all because of TU office bearers that we are bearing the brunt. I want them to be sacked and this is my bottom-line,” Dr KC was quoted by a doctor present at the site to have responded to the government team.
After a string of unsuccessful attempts, a team of doctors including NMA President Dr Anjani Kumar Jha, Dr Yogendra Singh, finally met Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and urged him to address Dr KC’s demands for a swift end to the crisis.
A member of the team said that PM Koirala had expressed his helplessness in meeting the demand to dismiss TU office bearers.
Meanwhile, the closure of medical services at government hospitals affected hundreds of people.
Bhakta Kumari Khanal, 78, was asked to vacate the TUTH emergency ward and return after the protest is over. Khanal was admitted to the hospital two days ago.
Although the government hospitals, including Bir Hospital and Patan Hospital, closed their out-patient departments, many private hospitals were open throughout the day.
Dr KC, however, insisted shutting down services and keeping patients in lurch has never been his intention.
The closure has affected an estimated 150,000 patients who visit the OPDs of over 400 hospitals across the country daily.
UML leader Nepal faces students’ wrath
Former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who reached the TUTH to see an ailing relative on Wednesday, was involved in an altercation with students supporting
Dr KC. Nepal was surrounded by the students and asked questions regarding the political interference in granting affiliations to medical colleges. Nepal defended the charges, saying that the officials are bias against the names of communist leaders Manmohan Adhikari and Pushpa Lal and have denied affiliations. Nepal had to be escorted to his vehicle by security personnel.
Clash erupts at NMC
Students of Institute of Medicine clashed with police as they made their way to the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) on Wednesday to submit a memorandum. At least seven students sustained injuries during the clash.