Dr KC postpones planned hunger strike

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 2, 2016-

Dr Govinda KC, a senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and a staunch crusader for reforms in the country’s medical education and profession, has put off his planned hunger strike that he was due to begin on Tuesday.

Dr KC postponed his protest at the heels of the government decision to formulate the Health Profession Education Act to regulate all medical schools in the country. 

Civil society leaders had been urging Dr KC to reconsider his decision to go on another hunger strike—the doctor has already staged seven fast-unto-death protests—saying that the government was working towards addressing his demands. 

Dr KC has long been championing for ending political appointments at the Institute of Medicine (IoM), enforcing a tuition ceiling for studying medicine, and setting up medical schools outside Kathmandu Valley, among others.  

After the dean of IoM, Dr Rakesh Shriwastav, resigned last month on the ground of health, the debate over his replacement has once again come to the fore.

IoM sources claim that Dr Shriwastav quit after he faced political pressure to increase the number of student intake in private medical schools. 

Dr KC has said a new IoM dean should be picked on merit basis, just like Dr Shriwastav was appointed.

The government should immediately appoint the dean on merit basis, Dr KC demanded. If the appointment gets political, he said, he will go on a protest.

Besides the dean appointment at the IoM, Dr KC is also closely following the issue of Manmohan Institute of Health Sciences (MIHS) that the incumbent government had unsuccessfully tried to give it an autonomous status. Dr KC, who believes that Kathmandu Valley should not have any more privately-run medical schools for at least another 10 years, had outright protested the government plan. At the pressure of Dr KC and civil society leaders the government has formed a committee led by Dr Guna Raj Lohani of Health Ministry to conduct feasibility study so that the MIHS could be run by the government.

Meanwhile, the Health Profession Education Commission is deliberating on the draft of the Health Profession Education Act with experts and government officials. After the deliberation is complete, the draft will be forwarded to Parliament for endorsement.

Dr KC has cautiously welcomed this government initiative.

Published: 02-03-2016 08:13

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