Health Profession Education Commission: Govt picks names for regulatory body

  • Education minister chosen as chair in breach of Mathema panel recommendations
- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
Education minister chosen as chair in breach of Mathema panel recommendations

Sep 18, 2015-Two weeks after the agreement with Dr Govinda KC to form Health Profession Education Commission, the government on Thursday picked names for the commission.

Sources at the Prime Minister’s Office said the meeting of Social Committee under the Cabinet agreed on the names of Dr Jagdish Prasad Agrawal, Dr Nilmani Upadhyay, Dr Somnath Aryal and Dr Damodar Pokhrel, among others, as member. Dr Agrawal is said to be a forerunner for the post of vice-chairman in the 17-member commission.

“Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav will meet PM Sushil Koirala on Friday to finalise the names,” a PMO source said.

Going against the recommendations of the Health Profession Education Policy drafted by Dr Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led panel, the Social Committee meeting headed by Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam had picked Education Minister Yadav as commission’s chair. The Mathema report had suggested the prime minister as the chairperson of the proposed commission—the highest regulatory body of the health profession education.

Dr KC had broken his sixth fast-unto-death protest after the government assured him of forming the commission for major reforms in health education. Among the recommended names, Dr Agrawal is known for his integrity and uncompromising ethics, but others have been mired in controversy in the past. Dr Upadhyay, registrar of Nepal Medical Council, has often courted controversies for allocating seats for private medical schools.

It is not clear yet whether Dr Upadhyay would be drafted into the committee as an NMC representative or as independent member. The Mathema panel had suggested to include a representative from the NMC in the commission.  

Dr Pokhrel, who was appointed vice-chancellor of National Academy of Medical Sciences under Nepali Congress quota in 2010, has been criticised for his inability to run the Trauma Centre years after its completion.

It was only after his departure that the centre built with the Indian assistance came into operation. Former NMC chairman Dr Aryal is considered close to CPN-UML.

The commission will be led by a vice-c nted by the government from among former vice-chancellors or persons with expertise in health education sector. The commission will have to draft a Health Profession Education Act in the next three months.

Dr KC, who had threatened to go on another hunger strike, said any deviation from the Mathema report would not be accepted. “We will not accept any changes whatsoever both in the Mathema report or in the 11-point agreement,” he said. “We have already made substantial compromise on our part to reach this agreement. It should be endorsed in its entirety by the Cabinet and implemented accordingly before I resume my hunger strike on Friday.”

Published: 18-09-2015 08:49

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