‘Docs’ strike violates Nepalis’ right to health’

Kathmandu, April 9

The National Human Rights Commission today said the ongoing strike of the Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal violated citizens’ rights to health.

Government doctors have been halting all health services, except emergency, in state-owned hospitals across the country for the past five days.

The rights body stated that it had been monitoring the impact of the strike on patients visiting the central, tertiary, regional and zonal hospitals. “The indefinite strike enforced by the GODAN in government hospitals demanding that the federal government retain the authority to hire and transfer all doctors working in the country has left patients and persons injured in accidents high and dry,” it stated.

The rights body reminded the agitating doctors of Section 3 of Essential Services Operation Act which prohibits any form of protest or strike in hospitals and health centres. “Doctors’ strike also violates the provisions referred to in articles 35 and 44 of the constitution which guarantee the right to health and consumers’ rights. It makes a mockery of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” reads the release. “It is very unfortunate that even the authorities concerned have not taken any initiative to resume essential health services,” the rights body stated.

The NHRC reminded agitating doctors of their professional ethics and urged them to call off the protest as it might put thousands of lives at risk. It also urged the agitating doctors and the government to resolve their differences through meaningful talks.