Prez authenticates medical education ordinance

Kathmandu, November 10

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today authenticated the National Medical Education Ordinance as per Article 114 of the constitution.

Spokesperson for the President’s Office Kul Prasad Chudal said, “The ordinance has come into effect immediately after authentication by the president.” The ordinance is in accordance with the agreement reached between the government and Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopaedic surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital.

The ordinance bars opening of new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for the next 10 years. It also states that a hospital has to run for at least three years to be eligible for affiliation to run a medical college.

As per the ordinance, a university will not be allowed to grant affiliation to more than five medical colleges. Likewise, affiliation cannot be granted to more than one medical college in the same district and 75 per cent of the seats in government medical colleges should be allocated for scholarships. There will be a single entrance examination throughout the country for all the students seeking to pursue medicine.

A Medical Education Committee, which will have the power to cancel affiliation granted to medical colleges, will also be formed.

The Cabinet had endorsed the ordinance on medical education and forwarded it to the president  for authentication on October 23. Prime Minister Deuba had assured Dr KC that he would make efforts to ensure authentication of the ordinance during the meeting held with Dr KC yesterday.

The draft ordinance was finalised by the government’s talk team comprising former health minister Gagan Thapa and advocate Om Prakash Aryal, and Dr KC’s team. Dr KC had staged his 13th hunger strike demanding an end to irregularities in the health and medical education sectors. He had demanded immediate passage of the Medical Education Bill as per the recommendations made by the Mathema-led panel.

Dr KC had given a seven-day ultimatum to the president to authenticate the ordinance. He had threatened to stage fresh hunger strike if his demands were not met.

“After authentication of the ordinance, the Ghattekulo-based Kathmandu National Medical College will have to pull down its shutters as the Medical Education Committee will set new rules and regulations for allocation of MBBS seats,” said Aryal.

“The ordinance will help increase access of people and students living in rural areas to quality health services and medical education,” informed Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, one of the members of Dr KC’s talks team.

The president can authenticate an ordinance in the absence of the Parliament but it has to be endorsed by the parliament within 60 days.