Doctors threaten to go on a strike

- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Jan 7, 2019-

Government doctors have warned of shutting down all medical services, except for emergency, if their demands for amendment to the Civil Servants Adjustment Ordinance and removal of Health Secretary Kedar Bahadur Adhikari are not addressed urgently.

The Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal (GODAN) on Sunday announced that government doctors across the country will organise an hour-long strike, from 10 am to 11 am, on Monday to exert pressure on the government.  

The government doctors have refused to fill the civil servants adjustment form, putting forth demands like promotion of civil servants working in the health sector and appending a clause in the ordinance whereby the government must obtain consent of employees regarding their transfer to remote areas that lack proper office infrastructure and facilities.  

“We are being forced to go on a strike as the government is not showing any concern to address our demands,” said Dipendra Pandey, president of GODAN. 

Nearly 100 government doctors had gathered outside the Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday to draw the government’s attention towards their concerns. 

Besides amendments to the ordinance, the government doctors have also demanded the government to remove Adhikari from the post of health secretary, saying that he does not belong to the medical background, as stipulated by the Medical Service Act.

“We have been demanding the government to address our legitimate demands for the betterment of health sector and health service providers, but unfortunately our government is not willing to pay attention,” said Pandey.

Though Health Minister Upendra Yadav held a discussion with the agitating doctors on Sunday, the two sides failed to   resolve the issue. 

“Government doctors are those who have worked for the country by reaching to rural areas and providing services despite lack of minimum infrastructure without complaining and still we are being neglected,” said Dr Jagdish Bhatta, who had come  from Baitadi to join the protest.

The doctors’ association has also expressed concern over the delay in the appointment of vice-chancellor of the National Academy of Health Sciences and the government’s decision to upgrade government hospitals into academy of health sciences. 

“If a government hospital is upgraded as an academy, there will be irregularities in appointing top officials for personal benefits,” said Dr Rudra Marasini. 

“Rather than upgrading those hospitals, the government should focus on upgrading their infrastructures.”

Published: 07-01-2019 12:03

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