AHRC urges government to address striking Dr Govinda KC’s demands

Kathmandu, October 13

The Asian Human Rights Commission today said it was ‘extremely concerned’ about Dr Govinda KC’s deteriorating health.

“The Government of Nepal seems to be taking his legitimate protest lightly. Nepali citizens must come together and support Dr KC in his crusade against medical irregularities and corruption in the country. The medical mafia, and corrupt politicians and government officials must be tackled with public support,” read a press release issued by AHRC.

It also urged the government to immediately implement the past agreements, and address ‘Dr KC’s justifiable new demands’. Dr KC, a senior orthopedic surgeon at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and professor at the Institute of Medicine, has been on 13th hunger strike since October 5, after the government allegedly failed to implement agreements reached with him after previous 12 hunger strikes.

He has been staging hunger strikes at the TUTH premises in Maharajganj to put pressure on the government to end anomalies in the country’s medical sector. Dr KC had ended his last hunger strike after 23 days. He began his first hunger strike demanding reforms in medical education in July 2012.

The demands that he started his 13th fast-unto-death with, are the same four-point demands previously raised: that the government enact the Medical Education Act in the spirit of the Mathema-led panel’s recommendations; endorse the Health Profession Education Bill from Parliament; impose a 10-year suspension on medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley; and, strictly enforce the government-set fee structure for MBBS course.

Dr KC has also urged the public to launch a protest for ‘upholding the dignity of the judiciary, and taking action against corrupt politicians and government officials’.

Dr KC has now added three more demands: termination of the 1971 Education Act, which he terms as ‘anti education’; cancellation of the affiliation granted by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training to dozens of colleges; and, making provisions for free, cheap and accessible health services and education for Nepal’s middle and lower income class and poor people of the country.

At the same time, Dr KC has also demanded action against Managing Director of Nepal Oil Corporation Gopal Bahadur Khadka as well other NOC officials for financial irregularities.

He also wants immediate budget allocation for starting classes at the Karnali Academy

of Medical and Health Sciences, and beginning the process of setting up government medical colleges in different cities and towns of Nepal.

“The government’s indifference towards these demands shows its apathy and negligence towards the country’s health sector and people’s well-being. While the government has not made any attempt to end Dr KC’s hunger strike, his health is deteriorating. Acetone has been detected in his urine.

Acetone is a substance released when the body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates,” the AHRC said, adding this condition ultimately leads to fragmentation of muscles, once body fat is

exhausted. Doctors have kept him under oxygen support since October 9.