Dr KC continues hunger strike in Jumla despite deteriorating health

KATHMANDU: Senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC's health is said to be deteriorating. The medical activist, who is on a hunger strike in Jumla since Saturday, has taken his strike to the third day despite his frail health state.

Dr KC is experiencing increased pain in his limbs, head and chest. Dr Pujan Rokaya, medical director at the Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Jumla, was quoted as saying in the Rashtriya Samachar Samiti, "Dr KC has passed out only 200 millilitres urine in the last 24 hours and his condition is vulnerable."

He said the medical team has already drawn the attention of the district authorities to the need for taking initiatives to address the issue of Dr KC's deteriorating health. The medical activist has apparently continued his hunger strike at a dingy place, full of pigeon droppings, and with no light.

Dr Rokaya reiterated that KC's health condition is pretty vulnerable.

Chief District Officer of Jumla, Bishnu Poudel said the district administration was very cautious regarding Dr KC's health. "Dr KC's demands aside, we have been tough against anyone trying to create disturbance in the law and order through riot by inciting the situation in the name of Dr KC's demands. But we respect his demands," he said. Nevertheless, Dr KC's supporters have been pressing the government to fulfill his demands and respect his basic human rights.

Dr KC has demanded that the Medical Education Ordinance Bill be tabled in the Parliament and the provision in the bill which makes it mandatory for students who study medicine on the government scholarship to serve in government hospitals for five years, be removed.

Meanwhile, the government on Sunday withdrew the Medical Education Ordinance Replacement Bill from the Parliament after the main opposition Nepali Congress opposed the contents of the bill.

According to former health minister Gagan Thapa, the present government removed a provision (which was there in the ordinance) that bars opening new medical education institution in Kathmandu valley for the next 10 years from the bill supposed to be tabled on Sunday.

The ordinance was issued by the previous government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba to address Dr Govinda KC’s struggle for the first time. The same ordinance, after it expired, was endorsed by the incumbent government on April 26.

A replacement bill for an ordinance should be endorsed by the Parliament within 60 days of the first House meeting, and the deadline for the medical education bill expires on Wednesday, after which it will be nullified automatically.