Address Dr KC’s demands in 24 hrs: NMA to govt

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
Address Dr KC’s demands in 24 hrs: NMA to govt

Mar 28, 2015-

Nepal Medical Association on Saturday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the government to address the demands of Dr Govinda KC, professor of orthopaedics at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, who has been staging a fast-unto-death.

At a press conference, General Secretary of NMA Mukti Ram Shrestha said they were forced to take the move after the government did not heed the demands of Dr KC even on the seventh day of his indefinite hunger strike.

In a symbolic protest, he called on doctors to provide treatment to patients out in the open until the genuine demands put forth by Dr KC are met.

“If the government turns deaf to his demands despite our protest we will be forced to take harsh measures,” Dr Shrestha warned.

However, the move was criticised by many doctors who said the NMA announced the programme just to save its face. “The NMA has been traditionally inclined to the Nepal Congress. During prior hunger strikes, when the prime minister was of another party, it had taken stringent measures in support of Dr KC,” said a resident doctor at the Institute of Medicine.

Dr Shrestha defended the criticism saying that they cannot take any decision putting the lives of patients at stake.

Meanwhile, the condition of Dr KC deteriorated further on Saturday. According to doctors involved in his treatment, ketones level in his urine has shot up considerably—a danger sign suggesting the start of a serious illness. He has complained of dizziness and weakness, said Dr Divya Singh.

Dr KC has been asking the government to fulfil its past commitments, including his demand for action against officials trying to take away the MBBS programme, currently being run under the Institute of Medicine, Maharajgunj, to the university campus in Kirtipur.

He has also urged the government to implement reports submitted in February last year by two expert panels formed to study the number of medical universities required in the country, devise medical education standards and prepare a medical college affiliation framework.

He has also demanded a task force to formulate a medical education policy, and action against officials granting affiliation to the Biratnagar-based Birat Medical College and the Rupandehi-based Devdaha Medical College, among others. This is Dr KC’s fifth death fast against the anomalies surrounding the country’s medical education.

UML supports protest: Bhattarai

Amid criticisms that the CPN-UML has been pressuring the government to grant affiliation to new medical colleges, party Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai refuted the claims on Saturday saying that they support the protest. Bhattarai and another leader Ghanshyam Bhusal had reached the TUTH to express their solidarity with the ongoing protest. Bhattarai told Dr KC that the UML was in favour of a medical education policy before handing out new affiliations.

“We will urge our leadership for necessary steps to save the life of Dr KC,” said Bhattarai, speaking to the media later. “Our party supports the protest but we should be cautious that it does not affect service delivery.”

Bhattarai and other leaders were responding to the criticism of UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey, who is the chairman of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences that desperately awaits affiliation with the IoM.

Bhattarai defended the move saying that individual acts did not necessarily represent the party view.

Published: 29-03-2015 08:49

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