Resolute in determination, Dr KC refuses to budge

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Aug 13, 2017-

On the 20th day of his fast-unto-death, Dr Govinda KC lay calmly on a bed in a room on the premises of the TU Teaching Hospital on Saturday even as doctors attending to him expressed serious concern about his health condition. Dr KC is at risk of a sudden cardiac arrest and life-threatening infections, they said. “He may need emergency medical resuscitation if undue medical complication arises,” read a health bulletin issued by a team of doctors attending to Dr KC. 

But Dr KC appeared resolute in his fight against malpractices in the medical education sector, refusing to call off his hunger strike. 

Though the parliamentary Committee on Women, Children, Senior Citizens and Social Welfare on Friday made some “major changes” in the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill, Dr KC refused to break his fast, saying he will not accept anything less than what guarantees decentralisation of medical education and basic healthcare services. 

“The [Kedar Bhakta] Mathema report talks about decentralisation of medical schools and wants no medical colleges inside Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years. The recent amendments, however, provide a leeway to open new medical schools,” said Dr KC. “Also, a single university cannot grant affiliation to more than five medical schools. The provision of the bill cannot be changed.”

The HPE Bill, which was formulated in line with the recommendations of the Mathema commission, calls for putting a 10-year moratorium on establishing new medical schools in the Valley. 

“If lax standards are adopted, we cannot control mushrooming of medical schools. Hence, the HPE Bill must carry the spirit of the Mathema commission report,” said Dr KC. 

Ignoring Dr KC’s calls and his deteriorating health condition, a parliamentary taskforce on Wednesday finalised the HPE Bill with crucial amendments that suited a handful of groups, including some lawmakers mostly from the CPN-UML. But following pressure, the House committee on Friday reworked on the HPE Bill in a bid to find a middle path so as to ensure that Dr KC breaks his fast. But the fresh changes made to the bill failed to convince Dr KC. 

On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered at Maitighar Mandala to express solidarity with the fasting doctor and press the government and lawmakers to address his demands. 

Fasting doc asks NMA to call off protest

Kathmandu: Dr Govinda KC on Saturday asked the Nepal Medical Association (NMA) to withdraw its protest and extend support to the flood and landslide victims. Dr KC spoke to NMA Vice President Dr Dhundi Raj Poudel over phone and urged him to withdraw the protests, according to one of the representatives of Dr KC. He also requested Dr Poudel to immediately ask doctors and medics to work in flood-affected districts. The NMA, an umbrella organisation of doctors, on Friday had called on all medical practitioners to stop delivering services except to emergency patients, saying there has not been any progress in addressing Dr KC’s demands. (PR) 

Published: 13-08-2017 07:36

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