Govt forms committee to talk to fasting doc

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
Govt forms committee to talk to fasting doc

Mar 27, 2015-

The government has assigned Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav and Health Minister Khagraj Adhikari to hold talks with Dr Govinda KC, who has been staging a fast-unto-death seeking reforms in the country’s medical education.

A Cabinet meeting on Friday instructed Yadav and Adhikari to meet Dr KC and discuss his demands. A government source said the meeting will be facilitated by Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal.

Dr KC has been staging the fast on the premises of the Maharajgunj-based Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, demanding, among other things, an end to new medical college affiliations until the country comes up with a policy to regulate the sector.

The meeting also decided to make public the report of the Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led panel on the feasibility of granting affiliations to new medical colleges.

Meanwhile, Dr KC has reiterated his stance that he will talk only to a government team comprising individuals with “clean public images”.

“There is no point holding a discussion otherwise,” the senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Maharajgunj-based TUTH said on Friday. “If the government sends a team of corrupt people for talks, it will be an insult to 30 million Nepalis,” he said.

This is the fifth time Dr KC has resorted to hunger strike as the government did not address his demands despite assurances.

During Dr KC’s previous fast-unto-death protest, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had vowed to fulfil his demands that included withholding affiliations to new medical colleges.

Reneging on his promise, the prime minister recently issued a direction to grant affiliations to some medical colleges.

This time around, Dr KC has asked for more than assurance from the government. “I am not going to compromise on any of the issues I’ve raised.”

Dr KC went on to claim that Prime Minister Koirala himself has been rendered powerless in front of “education mafia” in the country. The government has not reached out to Dr KC so far, nor has it made any formal response to his protest.

Doctors attending to Dr KC, meanwhile, are worried about his deteriorating health. Six days of “starvation” has debilitated him.

Dr KC complains of chest pain and dizziness while the ketones level in his urine has shot up considerably, said Dr Jiwan Kshetry. “He may suffer from Cardio complications any time because of low potassium and calcium in his body. His blood pressure has also gone considerably low.”

Meanwhile, a large number of people including medical professionals, students, civil society representatives and rights activists gathered on the TUTH premises on Friday to show their support to Dr KC and exert pressure on the government to address his demands.

The outpatient services at TUTH were halted to mount pressure on the government.

“We will not resume work until the government addresses Dr KC’s demands,” warned Dr Ram Chandra Sapkota, president of the Nepal Association of Resident Doctors.

Published: 28-03-2015 08:46

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