Doctors’ associations threaten stern protests

Kathmandu, August 9

Doctors of government hospitals today worked wearing black arm bands to express solidarity with Dr Govinda KC, who is on a fast unto death for the past 16 days.

“We wore black arm bands to protest against the government’s apathy towards Dr KC’s demands,” said Dr Dipendra Pandey, president of Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal. The association has also warned of shutting down all services, except emergency, if the government failed to address their demands. Currently, there are more than 1,600 doctors working in government hospitals.

Meanwhile, Nepal Student Union has also warned of protests. “We will take to the streets if the government fails to fulfil Dr KC’s demands. We support Dr KC. Medical education should also be accessible to poor students,” said Kundan Raj Kafle, general secretary, NSU.

National Resident Doctors Association has halted in-patient and elective surgery services at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital from August 8 showing solidarity with Dr KC. NRDA has also been boycotting academic activities at the Institute of Medicine and out-patient services at TUTH.

The agitating doctor might need emergency medical intervention any time as his health condition is critical. “His heart beat is fluctuating. He is suffering from chest pain and has muscle cramps. His white blood cell count is also low, electrolyte has lowered and he has body ache too. The amount of oxygen in his body has also come down and we are continuously giving him oxygen. There are chances of critical problems in his heart,” informed Dr Dibya Singh Shah, one of doctors attending to Dr KC.

A talks team formed by the government under Education Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha had held meetings with Dr KC’s team, but the talks failed to yield results. “As the government hasn’t shown seriousness to address Dr KC’s demands, we aren’t interested in talks. The government team needs to do enough homework,” said Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, one of the members of Dr KC’s talks team. However, he claimed that they were holding informal talks with the government.

Dr KC has demanded immediate passage of the Medical Education Bill incorporating recommendations made by Kedar Bhakta Mathema-led panel.