Sad reflections

Protests are justified but not in a fashion that lead to two weeks of shutters down for an institution that offers health services to the public. This particular case is related to the almost non-ending stoppage of all hospital services resulting from the "non-cooperation movement" launched by the doctors, paramedics, professors and students of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH). The severe and rather unpleasant step taken by the concerned protestors has its grudge concerning the alleged unethical means adopted by those in charge of holding the entrance examinations for the MD and MS programmes. The basis for the complaints by those taking part in the said test is yet to be confirmed. The investigation committee to look into the grievances seems to have not been able to satisfy particularly the aspirants who had taken the said examinations. It is a very unfortunate twist to an issue that should have been resolved as soon as it had come to light instead of closing down all TUTH services, including the emergency services, which opened the other day after two days' closure. This can be termed as the most inhumane retaliation by those whose profession dictates ethics and humanitarian service as the pillars for serving the sick and the needy. Despite the health service seekers being denied the attention that they need because of shutting down the hospital as a whole, no concrete steps have been initiated to bring normalcy to the hospital.

A case in point is the strike that paralysed Bir Hospital some months back. Even the biggest government hospital's problems drew lackluster response from the authorities concerned. The issue was no more that that of posts and party shares and the mundane demands for cleanliness and perks. That incident highlighted the vulnerability under which the hospitals function. Once again the reputed and reliable service provider has fallen prey to the demands that could have been sorted out in other ways than by closing down all the hospital services. This cannot be tolerated, even though it seems to be following the hostage taking tactics. Letting the patients suffer is like defying the law that torture is illegal? To any conscientious person the whole episode has been twisted beyond recognition. It is agreed that any unfair means on the part of the examinees as well as the examination conduction administrators are equally vile, and action ought to be initiated. But, accusations alone cannot prove anyone guilty. It has to go through the formal channel to establish who stands knee deep in mire. When the allegations have not been proved it does not have the plank to bring the TUTH services to a grinding halt making a mockery of all that stands for humanitarian cause.

The politicization has gone too far to meet the vested interests of the limited number of stakeholders who may have their point to make but not at the cost of leaving the patients in the lurch. And it is sad that the health ministry and its line agencies too have remained out of bounds to see to it that such basic services are not obstructed for days on end. An urgent resolution is needed to end such wayward behavior.

Foul waters

Many once pristine rivers are now adversely affected by industrial effluent flowing into them. Rivulets around the industrial corridor in Biratnagar are now found to contain pollutants much above the acceptable limit. The consequence for this is that the water there is not fit for drinking and also damage through irrigation is done to the crops, among others things. That the industries are allowed to get away with polluting the rivers is something that is difficult to stomach. The industries should be made to treat the effluents so that pollutants are not allowed into the rivers and rivulets, the compliance of which has been totally disregarded.

Bagmati, Bishnumati, Dhobikhola and Manahara rivers of Kathmandu valley are testimony to what industrial effluents and sewage can do. They have turned into open sewers. The odious stench emanating from them is very unpleasant. The authorities should strictly see to it that the industries do not play foul by allowing their harmful wastes to be poured into the rivers and rivulets. As it is, this discharge of the effluents from industries has become a major challenge to save the rivers and ultimately the environment.