Kathmandu, January 27
The Nepal Medical Association, which has been demanding that the government meet senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC’s demands related to medical education, announced that it would stage relay hunger strike throughout the country from tomorrow. The NMA took the decision today after holding discussions with doctors working in Kathmandu.
President of NMA Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha said his organisation took a decision to save Dr KC’s life. Dr KC has been staging hunger strike for the last 19 days.
NMA has appealed to doctors throughout the country to participate in the relay hunger strike from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm starting tomorrow.
An open meeting of doctors’ associations, including the Nepal Medical Association, Nepal Medical Students’ Society, National Resident Doctors Association, and Resident Doctors Association of NAMS, supported NMA’s decision to start relay hunger strike.
Dr Shrestha said all the doctors, including senior doctors, would have to compulsorily attend the relay hunger strike from tomorrow.
“There are some doctors who are unwilling to support Dr KC because they want to save their jobs,” said Dr Shrestha. “We are closely watching those doctors. If they fail to participate in the relay hunger strike, we’ll take action against them. We’ll not help those doctors in the future,” he added.
The relay hunger strike will be staged in 16 branch offices of NMA, including Ganesh Man Singh Bhawan of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu. “Due to lack of space in the main office of NMA, we are staging hunger strike on the premises of TUTH.”
NMA added that it would halt services, including emergency services if the government failed to address Dr KC’s demands.
Dr Kedar Narsingh KC, former president of NMA, said certain demands of Dr KC had divided the doctors. “Some doctors own medical colleges whose MBBS seats have been reduced due to Dr KC’s demands. They are not supporting him.”
According to him, of the 21 medical colleges operating across the country, MBBS seats for 13 have been reduced from 150 to 100. He added that the phrase ‘Medical Mafia’ used by Dr KC had also antagonised some doctors.
Meanwhile, civil society has appealed to the government to save Dr KC’s life. Civil society members have urged the government to incorporate the points of the agreement signed between the government and Dr KC on July 26 into the National Medical Education Bill when the bill is discussed in the National Assembly. This bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday and will be taken up by the National Assembly.
Civil society members supporting Dr KC include former chief justice Sushila Karki, former VC of TU Kedar Bhakta Mathema, Prof Abhi Subedi, former chief election commissioner Bhojraj Pokhrel, Swornim Wagle, Mahabir Pun, Bijaya Lama, Krishna Dharabasi, Jaya Raj Acharya, Durga Subedi, Kapil Shrestha, Mana Prasad Wagle, Bhairav Risal, Dr Ramesh Koirala, Birendra Mishra and Rabindra Singh.
Bibeksheel Nepali Party also staged protest rally today at Maitighar Mandala in support of Dr KC. The rally marched from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor.
A version of this article appears in print on January 28, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.