Nurses begin hunger strike at SDBNTC, NAN office

Kathmandu, May 10

Two nurses today began fast-unto-death on the premises of Shahid Dharma Bhakta National Transplant Centre and at the office building of Nursing Association of Nepal.

Diki Sherpa, a nurse of SDBNTC and Jita Baral, principal of Fishtail Nursing Campus, Pokhara, started the hunger strike demanding permanent appointed at SDBNTC.

Baral came to Kathmandu from Pokhara to stage the hunger strike expressing solidarity with the demands of the nurses of SDBNTC. She began the hunger strike at Lazimpat-based NAN office at 2:00pm, while Sherpa began the hunger strike on the premises of SDBNTC, Bhaktapur, at 6:00pm.

Nurses of SDBNTC have been staging sit-in for the last 17 days at the hospital and for the past six days at NAN office.

Nurses are also protesting against Nursing Association of Nepal, saying it has failed to act in supporting their cause.

Meanwhile, Nursing Association of Nepal today organised a press conference to inform about International Nursing Day celebration, but barred the agitating nurses from attending the programme.

Speaking at the press meet, President of NAN Tara Pokharel said NAN could only make requests to the Ministry of Health and Population and other concerned bodies to address the demands of the nurses.

“We don’t have the power to address their demands,” she said, adding that they had already held a meeting with the Director of the hospital Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, Dr Dipendra Raman Singh, chief of the Public Health Administration of the Ministry of Health and Population, State Health Minister Dr Surendra Kumar Yadav and fulfilled their genuine demands.

“Nearly 30 nurses working at the hospital for years are about to lose their jobs, but the parent organisation NAN, which should have fought for their rights, is ignoring our demands,” said Jita Baral.

Diki Sherpa, who has been working at SDBNTC since its establishment, said she would not end her fast-unto-death until their demands were fulfilled.

“We have been working for the last seven years, but the hospital is trying to ditch us. Before appointing new nurses, we should be granted permanent status through internal competition,” she demanded.

Other demands of the agitating nurses are providing salary on time, ensuring participation of old staffers in various trainings, conferences and seminars, providing all the facilities given to a government nurse, and scrapping the system of hiring nurses on contract basis.