Sins of omission

  • NC-UML still seems unconcerned about the health of Dr Govinda KC
Sins of omission

Apr 1, 2015-

Dr Govinda KC’s hunger strike has entered its twelfth day and yet, the government’s response continues to be dithering. Finally, the Cabinet accepted to agree to one of Dr KC’s demands: to not provide affiliations to new medical colleges until the taskforce led by Professor Kedar Bhakta Mathema produces a report on policies regarding the medical sector. But this is too little too late. This should not be a very difficult demand to fulfill, and the government should have accepted it as soon as Dr KC began his hunger strike. The fact that it took so long demonstrates the government’s apathy. Predictably, the Cabinet has not even thought about what to do regarding Dr KC’s other demands, which include the dismissal of the Education Minister and other officials involved in granting medical affiliations, as well as measures establishing the autonomy of the Institute of Medicine (IoM).

Instead of taking measures to address the crisis in the medical sector, the ruling parties have been more concerned about improving their own public perception in the eyes of the population. The UML in particular seems to be worried that its corruption has been exposed and is doing the best it can to paper over the whole mess. UML leaders claim that they have no interests in the private medical colleges, but have been unable to hide the fact that their senior leaders have made significant investments in the Manmohan Memorial Hospital, which has emerged as a symbol of the corrupt nexus of politicians and businessmen. It is most ludicrous that the UML has even sent some of its leaders to the IoM to supposedly ‘express solidarity’ with Dr KC’s protest, even as other UML politicians in the Cabinet continued to demand that the government should go ahead with granting affiliations to medical colleges, presumably even if this leads to Dr KC’s death.

Meanwhile, the crisis in the medical sector has deepened. The Nepal Medical Association (NMA) has announced that out-patient departments (OPDs) at all hospitals across the country will remain shut until Dr KC’s demands are met. There has been much commentary about this decision. In fact, it is sad and worrisome that doctors have gone on strike. This places the health and lives of many people across the country in danger. At the same time, however, the doctors’ strike is also indicative of the desperate position they are in. Even though they petitioned the government repeatedly and engaged in numerous rounds of talks, the government has remained unresponsive to their demands and unconcerned about the health of Dr KC. As a result, the doctors seem to have taken the decision to go on strike as a last resort. This decision is only one more example of the plight of Nepal’s citizenry when confronted by the callous ruling coalition of the NC and UML.

 

Published: 02-04-2015 09:12

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