KATHMANDU, Nov 4: Senior cardiologist Dr Bhagawan Koirala has been appointed as the chairperson of Nepal Medical Council, while the outgoing chairman Dharma Kanta Baskota will take over the helm of Tribhuvan University.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Sunday afternoon unanimously endorsed their names although an official announcement is expected during a regular press briefing on Thursday, sources at the Prime Minister’s Office said.
NMC, the regulatory body of the medical sector, is responsible for conducting MBBS examination, quality control of education and health services, upholding ethics and discipline in the medical sector among others.
Dr Koirala, who currently serves as the executive director of the Tribuvan University Teaching Hospital and director of Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre, was long considered Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s top choice for TU or NMC.
PM Oli had offered him to become the vice chancellor of the TU and enlisted his name as one of three candidates for the post. PM Oli’s aides said that Dr Koirala was appointed as NMC chair after he turned down the offer to become the vice chancellor.
For Dr Koirala, the new position comes as a rare opportunity to reform the medical sector mired in various anomalies. But it won’t be easy to bring a change.
His immediate challenge would be to mediate between medical students and colleges which have been at loggerheads since months. It will also be an uphill battle for Dr Koirala to implement the reforms recommended by a panel led by Dr Kedar Bhakta Mathema.
His biggest challenge would perhaps be finding a common point to work together with Dr Govinda KC, a crusader for reform in health and medical education, with whom he shares fundamental differences.
Dr KC, who has been protesting against growing commercialization of medical education and health service, has announced to begin his 17th hunger strike on Monday demanding implementation of agreements signed between him and various governments in the past. Dr KC is reportedly giving a second thought to the plan in the wake of the new appointments.
Baskota was the second choice for the post after Dr Koirala, who had declined to accept the offer. A search team formed under Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel had also recommended Chandramani Poudel for the coveted post. The post of TU vice chancellor was vacant since Baskota’s predecessor Tritha Khaniya’s term expired in August.