medical profession education policy

  • ‘No new medical schools in Valley’
- Manish Gautam, BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Jun 29, 2015-

New measures

  -   New medical schools to be outside the Capital in ‘small towns and new settlements’

  -   Nepal Medical Council role limited to conducting licence exam and monitoring the quality of doctors

  -   Medical education to be regulated by separate body

  -   Medical Education Commission to regulate around 200 subjects at universities, CTEVT and other institutions

  -   National accreditation board to oversee MBBS entrance exams to ensure their uniformity and fairness

  -   Free post-graduate degree

  -   Rs3.5 million threshold for an MBBS course fee

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The new Health Profession Education Policy recommends restricting the opening of new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley.

The policy drafted by a high-level committee, led by former TU Vice-chancellor Kedar Bhakta Mathema, states that “now onwards no medical college will be set up inside the Valley”. The report says the government should promote new medical schools outside the Capital in “small towns and new settlements”.

Mathema submitted the report to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Monday during a function attended by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other leaders at the PM’s residence in Baluwatar. Health Minister Khagaraj Adhikari, Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav, Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal and National Planning Commission Vice-chair Govinda Raj Pokhrel were also present there.

Mathema said that apart from imparting better healthcare, medical colleges also contribute to the development of rural areas by creating jobs and boosting the overall economy.

It is however not clear if the colleges that have already set up their infrastructure in the Valley will be allowed to run medical courses there. Such colleges include Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences—chaired by CPN-UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey, National Medical College—an extension of National Medical College, Birgunj, promoted by UCPN (Maoist) loyalist Basaruddhin Ansari, and People’s Dental College—run by Sunil Sharma who has support from the Maoists and the Nepali Congress.

The PMO had formed the committee on November 17 to draft a policy in response to one of Dr Govinda KC´s demands that a panel, comprising experts from the medical sector, be formed to formulate a national medical education policy.

Following the fasting doctor’s demand, affiliations to medical colleges were stopped until a new health policy is drafted based on the recommendations of the Mathema-led committee.

One of the strong recommendations suggested by the committee is limiting the role of Nepal Medical Council to conducting licence exam and monitoring the quality of doctors. The report states that the body is already overstretched given the increased number of medical colleges, and that the quality of medical education should be regulated by a separate body.

Towards that end, the committee has recommended a Medical Education Commission to regulate around 200 subjects on health education taught at universities, the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training and other institutions.

The commission, according to the policy, will be chaired by the prime minister and assigned to do six different tasks, through six directorates, such as providing accreditation, regulating medical studies and colleges, and holding national entrance tests.

The committee has also suggested forming a national accreditation board to oversee MBBS entrance examinations to ensure their uniformity and fairness. Many other committees had also recommended this measure earlier as separate entrance tests conducted by different universities and medical institutions are causing unwanted pressure on students, and promoting unhealthy competition among the colleges.

The committee also proposes free post-graduate medical education. The Ministry of Health and Population has already formed a taskforce to start a free PG programme from the upcoming fiscal year.

The committee has set a Rs3.5 million threshold for an MBBS course fee. Other members of the committee are Hari Lamsal, joint-secretary at the Education Ministry; Suresh Raj Sharma, former vice-chancellor of Kathmandu University; Dr Arjun Karki, former VC of Patan Academy of Health Sciences; Dr Ramesh Kant Adhikari, former dean of the Institute of Medicine; Dr Bhagwan Koirala, former director of the TU Teaching Hospital; Dr Madan Upadhyay, former VC of the BPKIHS; and Guna Raj Lohani, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.

Receiving the report, PM Koirala said the committee had provided a roadmap not only for medical education but for the overall education sector too. “I assure the implementation of the recommendations as they are,” said PM Koirala.

 

Published: 30-06-2015 08:01

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