Pokhara hospitals resume services

Pokhara, March 9:

All Pokhara-based hospitals and clinics including the state-run Western Regional Hospital (WRH), which were closed since Saturday, reopened today.

All staffers, health workers and doctors of the health institutions had shut the services to protest the vandalism in Western Regional Hospital by the locals following the death of a child while undergoing treatment in the hospital.

The hospitals resumed services after reaching an agreement with a talks team of government officials late last night, medical superintendent at WRH Buddhi Bahadur Thapa said.

"The maternity ward will take some days to resume its service since it had been damaged during the vandalism," Thapa said.

IGP Ramesh Chand Thakuri, secretary at Health Ministry Dirgha Singh Bam, secretary at Home Ministry Govinda Kusum and western regional administrator Rudra Prasad Shrestha had held talks with the agitating doctors and staffers.

The agitators agreed to resume services after the team expressed commitment to meet the 11-point charter of demands of the agitators.

According to Thapa, major agreements reached between the agitators and the government officials were -- establishment of a security unit under the command of an ASI in the hospital, announcement of the hospitals as free from strikes within three days, appointment of doctors as per the allocated quota, allocation of Rs 30 million to the hospital development committee (HDC) to increase the quota of doctors and staffers and action against those involved in the vandalism. The 350-bed Western Regional Hospital has 525 employees including 31 doctors appointed under the general provision and 32 doctors appointed by the Hospital Development Committee.

Chairman of the Gandaki chapter of Nepal Medical Association Dr Pradip Ghimire said the hospital was evacuated for the first time as doctors and patients lacked adequate security.

The relatives of the child claimed her body in the presence of the regional administrator, human rights activists and political parties the day before yesterday.

Investigation into the death of the nine-year-old girl Akriti Gurung is underway, Ghimire said.

Meanwhile, the police today held 17 persons on the charge of involvement in the vandalism of the hospital. Interrogations are underway, Kaski SP Subas Chandra Chaudhari said.