Doctors continue relay hunger strike

Kathmandu, January 29

Despite obstructions, doctors continued their relay hunger strike in support of senior surgeon Dr Govinda KC, who is on his 16th hunger strike at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, for the second day today.

An unknown group had removed the tents and banners put up by the agitating doctors at the site yesterday night. According to Pritam Subedi, a supporter of Dr KC, when the doctors returned to the protest site this morning to resume their relay hunger strike the tents and banners they put up had been removed. “Though doctors couldn’t find their tents and banners, they resumed their relay hunger strike at 10:00am,” he said.

More security personnel were deployed to the area in comparison to yesterday.

Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha, president of Nepal Medical Association, said a police officer had warned them against staging any kind of protest on the hospital’s premises. “Officials of the home ministry and hospital administration have warned us, but we are not afraid. We are ready to be arrested, but will not bow to any pressure,” said Shrestha.

The Ministry of Health and Population and Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital have already released a press statement, requesting the doctors not to stage relay hunger strike on the hospital’s premises.

Dr KC is on a hunger strike for the last 21 days, demanding that the National Medical Education Bill incorporate all points of the agreement the government reached with him on July 26.

Dr KC’s health condition is deteriorating and doctors have suggested transferring him to Intensive Care Unit. However, Dr KC has refused to be admitted to ICU.

‘Dr KC’s fast-unto-death has lost relevance’

Kathmandu, January 29

Parliamentary Education and Health Committee member Anjana Bisankhe said senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC should end his hunger strike and lead the Medical Education Commission to sort out problems seen in medical sector.

Speaking at a programme organised to mark the 57th Nursing Day, Bisankhe said 99 per cent of the demands of Dr KC had been addressed. “Dr KC’s hunger strike has now become meaningless,” she said, adding that National Medical Education Bill was in favour of all health professionals.

“The bill proposes that existing for-profit medical colleges should adopt not-for-profit or trust model

gradually in the next 10 years. If any college fails to the meet this criteria, we will scrap the college,” she said and added that each province would have at least one medical college.

Another lawmaker Sujita Shakya said that along with medical colleges, nursing colleges should also be regulated. “Rural areas also require nurses and health workers, so we need to upgrade CTEVT-run nursing courses,” she added.

Tara Pokharel, president of Nursing Association of Nepal, said the government had ignored the nursing sector. It has removed many posts of nurses in the federal structure.