Kathmandu, April 14
Doctors working in state-owned hospitals, who had been halting health services for the past nine days, have returned to work suspending their protest programme for 15 days.
The Government Doctors’ Association took a decision to this effect after the government’s talks team asked for 15 days’ time to address their demands.
The talks team from the Ministry of Health and Population had held talks with GODAN representatives at the ministry, last evening.
Chair of GODAN Dr Dipendra Pandey said they decided to halt their protest programmes after the government talks team unofficially asked them to provide 15 days’ time to address their demands.
He also said secretaries at the health ministry asked for some time to complete certain legal procedures for fulfilling their demands.
Secretaries at the health ministry Pushpa Chaudhary and Chandra Kumar Ghimire and joint-secretaries Mahendra Shrestha and Janardan Guragain were in the government’s talks team. Similarly, GODAN Chair Dr Pandey, Deputy Chair Dr Sunil Poudel, Nepal Doctors’ Association Chair Dr Mukti Shrestha and Acting Treasurer Dr Prakash Budhathoki represented the government doctors’ team.
Government doctors had halted all health services protesting against the federal government’s rule allowing the provincial and local governments to hire and transfer all the government doctors working in the country. The Government Doctors’ Association has been demanding that the federal government retain this authority.
GODAN has been saying that the permission granted to provincial and local governments to hire and transfer doctors will severely affect their career prospects as they will be restricted to certain provinces or municipalities.
The government operates 13 central-level hospitals, 13 regional hospitals, 84 district-level hospitals and 209 primary healthcare centres throughout the country. It is also estimated that around 200,000 patients visit these health facilities every day.
A version of this article appears in print on April 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.