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Govt disagrees with key issues

  • Health profession education policy
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Sep 2, 2015- The meeting of the Social Committee of the Cabinet convened on Tuesday to discuss the Health Profession Education Policy could not agree on several key points, including the status of medical schools in Kathmandu that are awaiting affiliation to run MBBS programme.
Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopaedican at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, has been staging fast-unto-death protest for the past nine days demanding immediate implementation of the policy.
The five-hour long meeting, chaired by Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam, did not make any noticeable progress regarding the implementation of the policy drafted by Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led committee.
In the case of medical colleges awaiting affiliations, a majority of them are owned by the leaders and members of various political parties, including Manmohan Medical College of CPN-UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey and National Medical College of UCPN (Moaist) aide Basrudhin Ansari. It is learnt that Gautam deliberately put aside the issue in the meeting due to the pressure from his party leaders and cadres.
The committee also could not agree on the subject of limiting the medical seats to 100. The committee did, however, agree on some of the points that were earlier excluded by a technical committee led by NPC member Yagya Bahadur Karki which was asked to formulate action plan on Mathema report.
The committee has agreed to set the fee ceiling for medical colleges to Rs 3.5 million.
A source, however, said that the fee ceiling is liable to change, for the human resource and equipment costs are likely to increase in colleges that are located in rural districts.  The committee also discussed about the formation of a permanent mechanism which would incorporate the annual inflation in the fees.
Many private medical colleges have been lobbying against setting a fee ceiling, saying that it will put their investments at stake.
The committee also agreed to ask the line ministries to amend their laws to provide a leeway for the implementation of the Mathema report.
Meanwhile, Dr KC said that he will not end his protest until each recommendation mentioned in the policy is implemented word for word.
The government is deliberately trying to shrug off the important issues mentioned in the policy which was prepared by a team of experts, he said.
MPs press for probe into irregularities in medical education
KATHMANDU: Cross-party lawmakers have demanded a parliamentary committee to probe corruption in the medical education sector.
Addressing a meeting of Legislature-Parliament on Tuesday, they said the House should demonstrate that it is committed to controlling rampant corruption in various sectors including health education.
They were responding to media reports that leaders from major parties and Supreme Court judges were taking bribes to decide cases in favour of medical colleges in the country. Millions of rupees is said to have been handed to political leaders and officials from the Medical Council to increase the number of seats in medical colleges. Speaking at the beginning of the parliamentary session on Monday, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal Chairman Kamal Thapa suggested devoting the day’s session to discuss corruption and irregularities in medical education. But the proposal was dismissed after lawmakers from the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML voted against. However, they unanimously supported the call to form a House panel for investigation.

Published: 02-09-2015 09:04

More on this story

As the fast-unto-death protest of Dr Govinda KC entered its ninth day on Tuesday, the Sushil Koirala-led government has still not shown any sign of addressing his demands of implementing the Health Profession Education Policy unveiled earlier this month.
Dr KC has grown weak and is kept in oxygen support. Dr Dibya Singh, who is attending Dr KC, said he is suffering from chest pain and his white blood cell count has decreased rapidly, making him vulnerable to various infections.
A senior orthopaedican and professor at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Dr KC has long been struggling for reforms in the country’s medical education sector. This is his sixth fast-unto-death protest. His earlier hunger strikes had led the government into forming a committee under Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University, to formulate a new policy to govern the country’s medical education and profession.
The government unveiled the Health Profession Education Policy after much delay. And now it is impeding its implementation.  
Dr KC has demanded the government to immediately implement the policy.
Meanwhile, the National Resident Doctors’ Association of the Institute of Medicine on Tuesday submitted an application at the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) requesting investigation into corruption and irregularities in medical sector.

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