Nepal | July 05, 2020

EDITORIAL: Respect the profession

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

The government can no longer remain a mute spectator to the plight of the sick and must act tough to deal with the protest

Health care is a sensitive issue, where delay in the treatment by just a few minutes could even lead to a patient’s death. But doctors working in the government hospitals across the country have been on strike for a week now, causing untold trauma to the sick, especially those who are poor. It is common knowledge that treatment in a private hospital is expensive, and low and lower-middle income people can ill-afford a visit there, where all the treatment expenses must come from out-of-pocket payment. Every day, thousands of patients from across the country converge in the capital, after travelling for days and with little money, hoping to be diagnosed in one of those big state-owned health facilities and return home quickly. Thus, refusing to see such patients is inhumane. The government doctors are on strike because they are opposed to the handover of the authority to hire and transfer doctors to the provincial governments following the enactment of the Civil Servant Adjustment Act. This, they say, will affect their “career development” as they could be restricted to a certain province. In other words, the doctors want to keep on working under the federal government.

In January this year, the federal government had taken a decision to hand over the responsibility of managing and regulating the health institutions to the provinces, in line with the spirit of federalism. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Population handed over the regional hospitals, sub-regional hospitals, zonal hospitals, district hospitals, regional ayurveda hospitals and district ayurveda health centres to the provinces. However, some zonal and sub-regional hospitals are to be developed as tertiary level hospitals, with specialised services. The provinces have also inherited all regional health directorates, regional health training centres, regional medical stores, sub-regional health training centres and district public health offices.

The strike violates the constitutional provision that enshrines health care as a fundamental right of the people. It has drawn flak from the National Human Rights Commission, and the doctors must be feeling the heat with no sympathy coming from any quarter, other than the Nepal Medical Association, which has demanded the government address their demands.  The doctors should return to work, and any grievances that they have should be sorted out through talks with the government. The government must also give a sympathetic hearing to come to an acceptable solution. It is time we put a stop to the practice of calling a strike as a pressure tactic to get one’s demands met. The ongoing strike makes a mockery of the government’s recent ban on strikes in sectors that deliver essential services. The government can no longer remain a mute spectator to the plight of the sick and must act tough to deal with the Government Doctors’ Association of Nepal (GODAN) that is spearheading the protest. If there are to be protests every time someone is transferred to the provinces or local levels, it will be very difficult to institutionalise federalism. Minister of Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit has asked them to quit if they are unwilling to provide services to the public. He sounds tough, he must now act as one.


Tatopani to restart

The Tatopani customs is to formally reopen on May 29, nearly four years after its closure due to the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015. The landslides and fallen rocks had destroyed the border town, bridges and customs point, which is the gateway to the northern neighbour. Nepal and China had worked hard to reopen the customs point, which used to be a major trading route between the two countries until the tremor damaged the infrastructure built on both sides of the border.

With the construction of a dry port at Larcha, south of the customs point, and repair and maintenance work on the road in the final stage, the Tatopani customs will become a major trading hub between the two sides. Business activities along the Araniko Highway had come to a standstill following the quake, forcing thousands of people in Sindhupalchowk district out of work. The Chinese side has also completed upgrading a section of the road from Khasa to the Miteri, or Friendship, Bridge. The volume of trade between the two sides is expected to double once the dry port and the customs come into full operation.

 


A version of this article appears in print on April 12, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

917 Nepalis rescued

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 The government which has been rescuing stranded Nepalis abroad repatriated 917 Nepali citizens and two dead bodies today through six different chartered flights. As per the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) office based at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Nepal A Read More...

Colombia sex workers

Colombian army fires 31 members for alleged sex abuse against minors

BOGOTA: The Colombian army said on Friday it fired 31 of its members accused of involvement with sexual abuse or violence against minors, amid recent accusations of sex abuse of young girls by soldiers. At least 118 members of the army have been investigated since 2016 for sex crimes against mino Read More...

Mexican soldiers kill 12 in cartel clash near border

MONTERREY: Mexican soldiers killed 12 alleged drug cartel members wearing military gear in the violent border city of Nuevo Laredo on Friday, Tamaulipas state security officials said, in another instance of mass murders that have driven Mexico’s homicides. Officials said armed gunmen clad in mi Read More...

Four killed in separate road accidents in Province 1

PANCHTHAR: Two persons died in a tractor accident that occurred in Aathrai Rural Municipality-5, Tehrathum district on Friday evening. The deceased have been identified as local residents Lalit Khabas (38) and Shyam Magar (40). The tractor (Me 1 Ta 6219) heading towards Sukepokhari from Chuhan Read More...

Clash ensues as police stop local farmers from ploughing fields in Khokana

KATHMANDU: A clash has occurred between local farmers and police personnel in Khokana, Lalitpur district, today. The clash erupted as security personnel stopped farmers from ploughing fields. It has been reported that a few security personnel were injured in the clash. Police even fired severa Read More...

Locals at risk while crossing river using suspension bridge in Bajura

BAJURA: Incessant rainfall in Bajura has raised the water level of Budhiganga River to touch Taprisera suspension bridge leaving commuters, who use the bridge to cross the river, at a great risk. The bridge, which connects Tribeni Municipality and Budhiganga Municipality, is getting partially sub Read More...

Nepal’s Covid-19 tally hits 15,491 as 232 new cases surface on Saturday

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Health and Population has recorded 232 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Saturday taking the country’s total infection count to 15,491. As many as 272 people have been discharged from health facilities following recovery in the last 24 hours, taking the total Read More...

Nepal logs two more COVID-19 related deaths on Saturday

KATHMANDU: Nepal has recorded two more COVID-19 related deaths, confirmed the Ministry of Health and Population, at its regular media briefing, on Saturday. A 44-year-old male, resident of Palungtar Municipality-7, Gorkha, has succumbed to the coronavirus infection. The swab sample of the decease Read More...