Ruling party MPs and Health Ministry disagree on health courses

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Jan 19, 2019-

While the ruling party lawmakers have been against phasing out health courses under the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training in the Medical Education Bill, the Health Ministry remains opposed to the idea and is holding discussions on making technical positions redundant in the next five years.

The Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led panel in its report had suggested phasing out courses of Auxiliary Health Workers (AHW), Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Community Medical Auxiliary (CMA), arguing that many institutes have been passing out students without proper education and training which have led to lack of quality health personnel.

“From now onwards, no institutes should be granted affiliation and those running should be phased-out in the next five years,” suggested the report. The Medical Education Bill had incorporated the Mathema panel report with the provision of phasing out the CTEVT courses.

However, NCP lawmakers amended this provision even as the bill has been discussed at the parliamentary Education and Health Committee. The bill, which is currently at Parliament, states health courses under the CTEVT will not be discontinued.

The NCP lawmaker’s move has also gone against the demands of fasting surgeon Dr Govinda KC. KC has been demanding the phase-out of CTEVT courses in his previous and recent hunger strike.

Former health minister and Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa has thrown his weight behind KC for phasing out of these courses. “The CTEVT courses were of great help in the beginning but now it should be phased out and replaced by staff nurses and health assistants courses across the country for more quality health personnel,” Thapa said during a press conference on Thursday.

The debate—whether to retain or phase out CTEVT health courses—has even left the Health Ministry and the Education Ministry at bitter odds. Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokhrel is in favour of continuing the courses, while senior officials at the Health Ministry are keen to retire the posts such as Auxiliary Health Workers (AHW), Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) and Community Medical Auxiliary (CMA) in the next five years.  

KC has accused Pokhrel of playing a dubious role in amending the provision on phasing-out the CTEVT courses. In his previous press conference, KC had charged Pokhrel of  blackmailing him regarding the CTEVT courses in return for endorsing the Medical Education Bill.

Although Pokhrel denies KC’s accusations that he was interested in retaining the CTEVT affiliation, the education minister is said to have played a key role in amending the provision before the bill was tabled at Parliament.

If this uncertainty persists, officials warn, the CTEVT will continuously dogged by controversy for long. “The ministry is currently in discussions and will make a final call soon,” said Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson for the ministry.

Shrestha, while they are for not allocating new jobs under this category after five years, those who’ve already been working will be allowed to continue their responsibility at the respective health institutions.

Published: 19-01-2019 09:33

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