Concerns grow over Dr KC’s health as fast enters 17th day

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Nov 30, 2016-

Dr Govinda KC’s 10th hunger strike entered 17th day on Tuesday, a record compared to his last nine fasts-unto-death, with the total number of days of his hunger strikes adding up to 114 days since 2012. His eighth hunger strike had ended on July 25 after 16 days. 

With no solution in sight, as no concrete measures taken so far to address Dr KC’s demands, there is widespread concern over his deteriorating health condition. 

Doctors attending to Dr KC said the fasting surgeon’s body has gone frail. He is suffering from severe chest pain and his heart beat is erratic, they said, adding that ketones are positive in urine, meaning his body has been breaking down fat for energy and if the phenomenon continues for long, it can create serious problems in kidneys and other vital organs. “His body is susceptible to infection,” said Dr Dibya Singh, a senior physician at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. 

Amid growing concern about Dr KC’s health condition, editors of major newspapers and online media have come together to discuss efforts that can be made to resolve the issue.  

Similarly, resident doctors of TUTH have decided to work only in emergency department from Wednesday. The National Resident Doctors Association (NRDA) of TUTH said they were forced to take the step after the government failed to pay heed to Dr KC’s demands. A total of 300 resident doctors work at TUTH OPD, providing vital assistance to senior doctors in the hospital. Around 3,000 people visit the hospital each day. 

Dr KC began his 10th hunger strike following the appointment of Dr KP Singh as the new dean of the Institute of Medicine. Dr KC has been demanding that the IoM dean must be appointed on the basis of seniority. 

Although the government has formed a committee to hold talks with Dr KC, they are yet to reach an agreement on issues including the ouster of TU Vice-Chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya and Dr Singh. Meanwhile, Minister for Health Gagan Thapa on Tuesday met Dr KC and took stock of his health condition. He reiterated his commitment to address the demands. 

 

Why the doc zeroed in on dean issue

-    Dr KC has been saying all along that politics has institutionalised 

corruption and lack of accountability has bred culture of impunity 

-    He has maintained that persons foisted by a certain political party in the offices, at the IoM in this case, will have their allegiance towards the party and their politics rather than the institution

Offices of dean, campus chief and director at IoM are decided by the vice-chancellor of the Tribhuvan University, the parent institution of the IoM

.......

The vice-chancellor in TU, as has been the custom, is a political appointee. 

The education minister recommends the name to the prime minister

What has been seen on most occasions is—the TU VC is an academic close to the political party that is in the government

......

Tirtha Raj Khaniya, the incumbent TU vice chancellor, was appointed by the Congress-led government in 2015. Khaniya stands accused of plagiarism

 

Demands

-     Appoint dean at the Institute of Medicine based on seniority

-     Sack TU Vice-Chancellor Tirtha Raj Khaniya

-     Set MBBS fees inside and outside Valley at Rs3.5 and Rs3.8 million

-     Provide full autonomy to IoM 

-     Stop affiliations or extended programme until the Health Profession Education Act comes into force

-     Endorse the Health Profession Education Act pronto

-     Expedite the impeachment process of Lok Man Singh Karki

-     Take action against office bearers who were found guilty in Jay Ram Giri report.

-     An independent person, not the education minister, should lead the a search committee for appointing university officer bearers

-        Establish at least one government medical college in each province

Published: 30-11-2016 08:11

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