EDITORIAL: Implement it

Now the ball is in the government’s court. It should see that all agreements are implemented and that Dr. KC may not have to go on hunger strike for the eleventh time

The tenth hunger strike by Dr Govinda KC ended in a 12-point agreement with the government after twenty-two days. This is a welcome agreement though it should have been concluded within days, and rather the occasion for the tenth strike should not have arisen at all.

The resignation of the recently appointed IOM dean, Dr K P Singh, and his replacement by the most senior IOM doctor, Jadadish Prasad Agrawal, along with agreement on other points, led to the breakthrough.

Among other things, as per the agreement, a committee will be formed within two weeks to investigate the anomalies in the medical education sector, as well as the appointment of Dr Singh by TU Vice Chancellor Tirtha Khania.

Dr Singh’s appointment had triggered Dr KC’s hunger strike as he had already been dissatisfied with the government failure to implement the past agreements fully. Except for two occasions on which Dr KC ended his hunger strike on his own accord, his hunger strikes had on all other occasions led to an agreement.

The fact that Dr. KC has had to go on hunger strike time and again means that the government did not take the agreement seriously. Indeed, it had made some efforts, including setting the total fee required for the study of MBBS education on self-finance.

But such things had not been followed by the medical colleges and others concerned. That is why the agreement had only been partially implemented. This was not enough to make much difference in the field of medical education which Dr. KC and his supporters have to rid of malpractices and make the medical education in Nepal of high quality and fairly priced.

Despite setting of a fixed amount for medical education in the Kathmandu Valley and for outside the Kathmandu Valley, reports had started coming recently that some medical colleges had been charging double the fixed amount, in violation of the government’s rate, i.e. somewhere about seventy lakh rupees instead of 38.5 lakh rupees.

Dr KC’s demands include that students must not be charged more than the set amount.

Dr. KC demands also include that affiliation to the medical colleges should not be haphazardly given but subjecting the applicants to the rigorous standards. To make this and other changes, KC has demanded changes to the relevant law and regulations.

Those with vested interests have come in the way of such reforms because they would then be deprived of their illegitimate benefits.

The appointment of Dr Singh, for example, seemed to deliberately violate the earlier agreement. Some medical colleges do not have the requisite hospital bed to MBBS student ratio; as a result, they have produced MBBS doctors who do not have the basic practical knowledge that every doctor should possess, even in properly using the stethoscope or correctly or confidently taking blood pressure.

This kind of situation will only compromise public health as such doctors will do grievous harm to their patients. This will be a waste of the money of the parents and a large waste of student’s precious years. These and other malpractices and anomalies existing in the medical education sector should be eliminated.

Now the ball is in the government’s court and it should see that all the agreements are faithfully implemented and that Dr. KC may not have to go on hunger strike for the eleventh time.

Mobile and driving

Drink-driving, overtaking in congested areas and in bends and using mobile phone while driving are some of the common violations of traffic rules.

Traffic police have been launching a crackdown against using mobile phone while on the wheel.

When a driver starts talking over a cellphone while on the wheel there is a great chance of meeting with an accident as the driver’s mind will be diverted to other things and his/her eyes will be off the road.

The Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Rules clearly prohibit using the cellphone while driving.

If a driver is found to have violated this rule for more than five times his license may be suspended for up to six months. Many people on the wheel are seen using the cellphone while driving.

The traffic police used to fine up to Rs 1,500 for violating this rule. From now onward, anyone caught using the cellphone while driving will be subjected to stern action by cancelling their license for six months.

Police say, on average, 50 drivers are caught talking on mobile phone daily.