Dr KC ends his hunger strike after 16 days

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Jul 26, 2016-After 16 days of hunger strike demanding reforms in the medical education sector, Dr Govinda KC, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), called off his fast on Monday after an agreement with the government.

Dr KC’s aides and a team of government representatives on Sunday night reached an agreement to address some of his demands. But Dr KC has said he will continue to put pressure until all of his demands are met. One of his demands is impeachment of Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority chief Lok Man Singh Karki. On Sunday, Dr KC was informed that the issue has “already entered Parliament”.

The fasting doctor on Monday afternoon took a few sips of juice to break his hunger strike. 

His three patients at TUTH--Chebang Norbu Lama, 30 of Gorkha; Saroj Nepali, 5, of Sindhupalchok and Anita Devi Mahato, 40, of Siraha--and Health Secretary Dr Sinendra Raj Upreti, former chief secretary Leela Mani Poudyal and Nepali Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa had offered juice to Dr KC. 

“We want equitable distribution of medical schools and quality health services for all,” said Dr KC after breaking his fast. “Many of these issues have been addressed. Regarding the impeachment of Lok Man Singh Karki, we will press the government from the streets.”

As per the agreement reached on Sunday night, the government will buy the infrastructure of the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS), which will be operated by the National Academy of Health Sciences. 

A bill seeking to give the MMIHS the status of an autonomous academy is currently in Parliament, and withdrawal of the bill was yet another demand of Dr KC. The MMIHS is backed by CPN-UML members. 

On Monday, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kama Dahal were scheduled to meet Dr KC, but later Arjun Narsingh KC of the NC and Janardan Sharma of the Maoist Centre met him and expressed commitment on their leaders’ behalf that his demands would be met. 

Also on Sunday night, the government had agreed to increase free seats in government medical schools. Immediately after Dr KC ended his hunger strike, he was moved to the intensive care unit.

Published: 26-07-2016 12:48

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