EDITORIAL: Tip of the iceberg

Undoubtedly all of them have committed a serious crime which is punishable under the law of the land

In recent months, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police has made several arrests of professionals who allegedly used totally fake certificates for SLC or Intermediate levels of education, or who despite having genuine certificates with lower marks, used fake certificates with higher marks just to be able to get a scholarship or admission to engineering or medical colleges.

The arrestees are people who have already become doctors or engineers and some of them have earned even Master’s degrees and some of them have already have gained many years of experience.

Most of them are also working for various hospitals, including reputed ones, like Norvic, B&B and Tilganga. The first round of the recent arrests hauled up eight engineers, then some time ago, seventeen doctors, and now 36 doctors again.

But in the meantime, the first thing that the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) should do, as it has already done with the seventeen accused, is to suspend their medical registration until their cases are settled by the court.

It is only fair, ethical and necessary to do so.

The recent arrests have brought a bad name on these professions which are otherwise highly regarded.

For example, the presence of such substantial numbers of doctors who have been accused of forging certificates has shaken public faith in the medical profession, because it has become difficult for patients now to find which ones are genuine and which ones are suspect and whom to trust because the relationship between doctor and patient is one of trust and patients put the fate of their life in the doctor’s hands in total confidence in his or her professional competence and honesty and good intention.

The Nepal Medical Association (NMA), a professional organisation of medical doctors, has said it will cooperate with the police to bring the guilty to justice “provided the government respects laws and human rights”.

It has objected to the way the arrests were made, without issuing a warrant, and the way “on-duty doctors were intimidated”. There is no doubt that the law should take its course and the process of investigation should go on according to the laws concerned.

The NMA has threatened to launch a protest programme if its “concerns are not addressed”. But the NMA should heartily cooperate with the investigation as it is its prime duty to keep the sanctity of the medical profession.

The arrests may just be the tip of the iceberg as the practice of forging documents to get benefit has been a not so uncommon practice in our society. In future, NMC and other related bodies should take extra caution to check the credentials of people who apply for professional registration.

The CIB has done a commendable job, which should be continued with greater vigour in the time to come.

The arrested doctors cannot be said to be fake doctors if they have all their prior certificates genuine but they have used faked certificates with higher marks to get a scholarship or admission. But undoubtedly all of them have committed a serious crime which is punishable under the law of the land.

Exactly what punishment they should get is the sole prerogative of the court which will hear their cases.

Keep it up

The Aarogya Foundation of Lalitpur has been provided three haemodialysis machines of high quality by the Rotary Club of Rajdhani Saturday.

The foundation provides its services to 70 patients every day and it possesses 17 dialysis machines and yet is not able to meet the demand for its services. The foundation provides services round-the clock.

The government has done well to provide dialysis services free of cost. These used to be very expensive, particularly in private clinics and hospitals.

It is estimated that there are 3000 new kidney patients with serious ailments every year, and the sad thing is that 90 per cent of them die in a few months.

Meanwhile, impressive strides have been made by Nepal in the treatment of kidney patients. These days the Human Organ Transplant Centre is performing more than a hundred kidney transplants every year.

Many kidney patients from India also come to the centre for world class kidney transplants.

Now the government would do well to provide such transplants free of cost as well.

An amendment to law related to organ transplantation is being introduced in parliament to transplant viable organs from a brain dead person which is something new for this country.