Kathmandu, July 7
Medical students and government doctors awarded with scholarships by the government are found to be breaching their contracts of compulsory service at government health facilities after the completion of their studies.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, seven doctors have remained out of contact even after the completion of their studies abroad under the government scholarship programme. “We are still waiting for them to contact us. If they do not contact the ministry anytime soon, we will be forced to take legal action against them,” said Mahendra Shrestha, spokesperson for the ministry.
There are incidents of doctors breaching their contract time and again. Some of the doctors who have breached their contact are staying abroad, according to a source at the ministry.
There is a tendency among doctors migrating to foreign countries as Nepali medical licences are not required for the doctors to practice abroad, said one of the members at the Nepal Medical Council.
“If a doctor is found to be breaching the contract, he/she should reimburse the scholarship amount to the government,” said Sushil Pyakurel, Director at the Department of Health Services.
As per the contract signed with the Ministry of Health and Population, a medical student or a government doctor should serve at least for two years at a government health facility in rural area, upon the completion of studies. The Nepal Medical Council provides permanent registration of the doctors after the completion of the mandatory service, said Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar at the NMC.
As part of the registration procedure at the NMC, the doctors need to submit a clearance certificate issued by the Department of Health Services. The department issues the clearance certificate to a doctor after confirming his two-year mandatory service period at a government health facility, according to a NMC member.
“Though the mandatory service period at government health facilities is for two years, we usually transfer the doctors who have completed one year in rural health facilities to urban areas as we need to send new candidates to gain experience in rural areas,” said Pyakurel.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) initiates an investigation if an application is made against candidates for breaching the contract. “Upon receiving an application along with the contract paper, we start our investigation, said Pradip Kumar Koirala, CIAA spokesperson.
The ministry of health should keep the record of the names of the selected candidates. It should send the names of the doctors who have successfully completed their medical education under scholarship to the NMC.
The government provides scholarships for studying medical science in Nepal and in countries like China, India and Bangladesh. Every year around 300 candidates including government doctors and meritorious medical students are awarded with the scholarship.
A version of this article appears in print on July 08, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.