Nurse Jita Baral ends 14-day hunger strike

Kathmandu, May 23

Nurse Jita Baral, who was staging fast-unto-death for the past 14 days, has ended her strike by drinking Jiwan Jal at 7:15pm today. She had been staging hunger strike at Nursing Association of Nepal, Lazimpat, initially for a few days and later on continued it in BP Memorial Health Institute and Research Centre, Tokha.

Minister of state for health Surendra Kumar Yadav offered her tonic water to end her strike. Yadav said the ministry would form a committee to discuss the demands of nurses and implement them as soon as possible. He promised to include Jita Baral on that committee.

Baral had been staging hunger strike demanding quality education and nursing services, fulfilment of all posts of Nepal Nursing Council, elimination of discrimination against other health workers and nurses and formulating laws to curb workplace violence against nurses.

Meanwhile, nurses began a relay hunger strike today at NAN demanding to draw attention of the government towards problems of nurses and deteriorating health of agitating nurses. Around 10 nurses staged relay hunger strike on the premises of NAN in support of agitating nurses Jita Baral and Diki  Sherpa from 10:00am to 5:00pm today.

Nursing Struggle Committee yesterday had provided a 24-hour ultimatum to NAN, requesting it to write a letter to the MoHP on behalf of NAN. Nursing Struggle Committee had also warned that if NAN failed to send the letter, it would start relay hunger strike.

According to nurse Seema Bishwokarma, NAN is a parent organisation of all nurses and putting pressure on NAN will help pressure the government. Bishwokarma said if the government failed to address their demands they would stage hunger strike on the premises of the Ministry of Health and Population.

“It is not the demand of a single nurse, but of every nurse working in the country getting low wages,” said Bishwokarma. She added, “If NAN and government representatives view demands of nurses genuine, then they should address them pronto and save lives of the agitating nurses.”