KATHMANDU, Sept 28: The budget session of parliament concluded Thursday without endorsing the Medical Education Bill as per the government’s agreement with Dr Govinda KC, the crusader for reforms in medical education. Dr KC warned on September 26 that he would stage his 16th fast-unto-death to exert pressure for the fulfillment of his demands.
The government had signed a nine-point agreement with Dr KC on July 26 , which was the 27th day of his 15th fast-unto-death. The agreement included the formation of a high-level commission and the passage of a Medical Education Bill addressing all his demands.
Dr KC, senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), has staged hunger strikes 15 times for a total of over 190 days since 2012, demanding reforms in the medical sector. All the demands were addressed in the July 26 agreement.
However, the parliamentary session concluded Thursday without addressing the major demand that the Medical Education Bill be endorsed within two months of the agreement.
“I will decide soon about further protest programs against the government’s failure to address the concerns of ordinary people as provisioned in the agreement it reached with me,” said Dr KC.
According to the July agreement, the major demands will be addressed from within 15 days to two months of its signing.
The Medical Education Ordinance, which the bill will replace, included 75 percent scholarships for government medical colleges, no opening of new medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley for 10 years, restriction of affiliations issued by a university to only five medical colleges, three years of hospital operation before a medical college becomes eligible for affiliation, and the opening of at least one government medical college in each of the seven provinces.
During his last hunger strike, Dr KC presented a seven-point demand including the bringing of a Medical Education Act without any special changes, immediate commencement of MBBS classes at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, immediate publicizing of the report of a probe commission led by Gauri Bahadur Karki and taking of action against the culprits named, revocation of the ban on staging protest at Maitighar, and scraping of the Tribhuvan University decision taking away certain powers of the IOM.
The other demands are implementation of a report prepared by the official standards determination committee headed by the University Grants Commission chairman, compulsory service for two years for MD scholarship students, free MD classes in all private medical colleges, opening of government medical colleges in Province 2, at Panchthar-Ilam and Dadeldhura-Doti and in Udayapur, and expediting work at the Rapti Academy of Health Sciences and Geta Medical College.
Advocate Om Prakash Aryal, one of the campaigners for Dr KC, said that the next movement will focus on corruption and bad governance in the country. “However, the protests might be launched only after Dashain, the great festival of the Nepalese,” he added.