Dr KC may stage another indefinite hunger strike

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Nov 15, 2014-As the 10-day ultimatum given by Dr Govinda KC, orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, comes to an end on Sunday, the government has so far failed to address his demands.

Dr KC, who has warned of another hunger strike if his demands are not met, said he will announce the date of protest on Sunday evening since the government had not taken any step to form a committee to draft the national education policy. One of his demands to end the affiliation process to new medical college was recently addressed. However, Dr KC said that the newly affiliated Devdaha Medical College and Birat Medical College by Kathmandu University should stop taking in students until the policy is formulated.

“I am clear on my demands. Government cannot cheat us every time,” said Dr KC. 

Dr KC has already staged a similar fast-unto-death four times in the past demanding a separate medical university and national medical standards. Ending his fourth fast-unto-death on February 15, the government had formed two committees to address his demands.

One expert committee had reiterated that medical university was necessary in the country and gave a green signal while another committee had worked on the medical studies standards. Though the committee submitted its report to Minister of Education Chitra Lekha Yadav in June, the ministry is yet to implement the recommendations.

According to Dr KC, the government should form a high-level committee to draft the National Medical Education Act and should present it to the Parliament. He has also asked the government to table the bill on the formation of Medical University, stop granting affiliations to medical colleges for now and take action against TU officials for piling pressure on the IoM to grant affiliations to new medical colleges.

Dr KC also asked the government to book the former and incumbent IoM and TU office bearers found guilty of corruption and irregularities, and create a conducive environment to establish medical colleges in rural areas.

Doctors divided over KC’s protest

Doctors of TUTH remain divided over Dr Govinda KC’s plan to stage another hunger strike. According to the doctors, since the government has identified TUTH as the primary care-giver for the upcoming Saarc Summit, Dr KC’s hunger will send a negative message to the international community. A doctor of the hospital requesting anonymity said since Dr KC will stage his protest in the premises of the hospital and as foreign delegates are likely to visit the hospital, it will taint the image of the country. Another doctor fears that every time Dr KC goes on a hunger strike, TUTH first gets closed down and the other hospitals around the country follow suit. “It will be an awkward situation if the doctors say they will not work while Saarc delegates might need medical attention during the conference,” said the doctor.

Published: 16-11-2014 09:09

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