Dr KC ends 22-day fast after deal

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Dec 5, 2016-

Dr Govinda KC ended his tenth hunger strike on the 22nd day on Sunday morning after reaching a 12-point agreement with the government on Saturday night.

Dr KC drank juice offered by two-and-a-half-year old Marsaang Tamang, who lost his mother in the earthquake last year, to break his fast at the TU Teaching Hospital. The orthopaedic surgeon was taken to the ICU ward of the hospital immediately after breaking the fast. He also signed the agreement paper which he had agreed to on Saturday night.

Weakened by the voluntary starvation, Dr KC’s diet will be planned by experts. His health would be closely monitored for a few days before he is discharged.

“We are fighting to improve the quality of health education. I hope the government will not drag its feet again on implementing the agreements,” said Dr KC, who briefly spoke after breaking his fast. He asserted that he would always be ready for protests if the government failed to live up to its commitment.

In his latest hunger strike, Dr KC pressed for an end to political meddling in universities and arbitrary appointments to key posts including the dean at the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine. On Saturday night, the government had agreed to form a high-level committee led by the chairman of the University Grants Commission within 15 days, asking it to prepare a framework for appointing top TU officials by its senate. In an act of political meddling in the autonomous institution, professors close to political parties are being appointed as the vice-chancellors.

As a result of Dr KC’s series of hunger strikes, MBBS fees have been set at Rs3.8 million. The agreement also has that public medical schools will reserve 50 percent seats for free education while eventually all the quotas would be made free of cost.

Dr Jiwan Kshetry, a close aide to Dr KC, said they would constantly press the government to implement the agreements. “The government has a poor track record [as far as implementation of the deals is concerned] so we have to constantly prod it,” said Kshetry. Dr Senendra Upreti, a member of the government talks team, said they are committed to enforcing the deal reached with Dr KC.

Agrawal assumes office as IoM dean

Dr Jagdish Agrawal has assumed office as the dean of the TU Institute of Medicine following his appointment on Friday morning. Dr Agrawal, however, was barred from entering the office by irate professors. He started working from the office of the National Centre for Health Professions Education at the IoM. Many professors and faculty members have expressed their dissatisfaction at his appointment that followed the ouster of the incumbent Dr KP Singh, which was a major demand of Dr KC.

Dr Agrawal said his first priority would be to conduct an immediate gap analysis of affiliated medical schools for enhancing their quality.

 

THE TAKEAWAY

-     Committee to be formed in two weeks led by the UGC chair to prepare a report on appointing TU office bearers by the Senate based on merit 

-         No new affiliations to be granted until the Health Profession Education Commission Bill is endorsed by Parliament

-         Committee to monitor implementation of agreements reached between the government and Dr KC

Published: 05-12-2016 07:39

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