All health services except emergency to halt nationwide today

Published On: February 1, 2019 09:58 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 1: Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the professional organization of doctors, has announced a shutdown of all health services except emergency in government, public and private health facilities across the country on Friday.

NMA decided to halt the health services as an indicative protest against the government following the approval of the Medical Education Bill by the upper house of parliament on Thursday. Senior orthopedic surgeon Dr Govinda KC is on his 16th fast-unto-death demanding changes in the Bill.

Issuing a statement , NMA said that it was their responsibility to save the life of Dr KC, who has been fighting for the cause of health services for ordinary people. “We are shocked by the government's suspicious lack of concern over the relay hunger strike by doctors and the attempts to dilute our protests by hiring individuals for disruption,” says the statement signed by its general secretary, Dr Lochan Karki .

Urging one and all including the private sector and individual health workers to cooperate with their protest, NMA has called for the shutdown of all health services except emergency in all government, public and private health facilities throughout the country Friday. “If the government ignores us and does not take any initiative to save Dr KC's life by addressing his demands through talks, the protests will be further intensified,” said NMA officials.

Dr Jivan Kshetry, coordinator of the Solidarity for Dr KC Alliance, said that the approval of the Medical Education Bill by the National Assembly without implementing the agreement signed with Dr KC has raised serious concerns over the honesty and intentions of the state and the ruling party. “It has demonstrated that the government has brought in a law out of individual interests, promoting policy-level corruption. It is dangerous to trample on the interests of the public in the name of parliamentary supremacy,” he said.

Issuing a statement of his own, Dr Kshetry further said it is time the struggle for the rights of the people and against the autocratic tendency of the government is intensified. “We will stage big street protests on Saturday against this government which has ignored the demands of Dr KC and betrayed the agreement signed with him,” he added. Thursday is the 23rd day of the hunger strike staged by Dr KC, whose condition is deteriorating critically. He needs to be treated in an intensive care unit but he has refused this. His 15th and till then longest fast-unto-death had ended on the 27th day on July 26, 2018.Dr KC, who has already staged hunger strikes over 215 days since 2012 to press for reforms in the medical sector, began his 16th fas from January 9. He is demanding that the agreement signed with him on July 26 be met in full.Meanwhile, people from various walks of life including professionals staged a street rally on Thursday in support of Dr KC. Hundreds of people including doctors, engineers, teachers, health workers, civil society leaders and members of the general public participated in the rally, which began from Maitighar and ended at New Baneshwar in Kathmandu.Likewise, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba along with lawmaker Gagan Thpaa visited Dr DC on Thursday and expressed solidarity with his movement.Two ministers dismissive of Dr KC's fastREPUBLICAKATHMANDU, Jan 31: Two government ministers have responded in dismissive fashion to the fast-unto-death staged by Dr Govinda KC, following the approval of controversial Medical Education Bill by the upper house of parliament on Thursday.Organizing a press meet on Thursday, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota, who is also the government spokesperson, said the approval of the Bill was a victory for Dr KC. “I urge the doctor to end his hunger strike and celebrate it [bill],” said Baskota, adding that doctor's hunger strike was exaggerated and over-publicized.Similarly, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel on Thursday said the government would initiate steps to hold talks after the approval of the Medical Education Bill.Dr KC is struggling for his life on the 23rd day of his fast-unto-death that began from January 9.\

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