NMA likely to shut down health services

Kathmandu, January 26

Nepal Medical Association is thinking of halting medical services (except emergency) throughout the country if the government fails to meet senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC’s demands.

Dr KC has been staging hunger strike for the last 18 days demanding incorporation of the nine-point agreement he signed with the government on July 26.

NMA today notified all medical doctors of Kathmandu valley to attend a meeting tomorrow to discuss protest programmes ‘to save Dr KC’s life’ and to pressure the government to meet his demands. The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at 1:00pm at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, where Dr KC is staging his 16th hunger strike.

NMA President Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha said the government had bulldozed the bill through the House

of Representatives yesterday ignoring the NMA’s 72-hour ultimatum to meet Dr KC’s demands.

“It seems the government is not serious about the NMA’s concerns.  So we have no option but to launch protest to pile pressure. The modality of protest will be based on the decision of majority of doctors attending the meeting tomorrow,” Dr Shrestha said. “We will halt health services across the country if the majority decides,” he added. “The nature of protest will depend on Dr KC’s health. If his health deteriorates, we may be forced to halt all health services throughout the country,” he said.

NMA has clarified it will support only those demands related to reforms in medical education, not other demands such as the PM’s resignation, transitional justice issues and Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder case, said NMA Joint-treasurer Dr Prakash Budhathoky. “Reform in medical education,” he said, is Dr KC’s main demand and it is also NMA’s concern.

Meanwhile, hundreds of medical students, representatives of civil society, activists, and representatives of political parties participated in the protest rally organised by the solidarity for Dr KC Alliance at Maitighar Mandala today. They marched from Maitighar Mandala to New Baneshwor chanting slogans against the government for passing the National Medical Education Bill without meeting Dr KC’s demands.