Doctors to wear black armbands against KNMC affiliation

Published On: August 28, 2017 01:34 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, August 27: Health professionals associated with Nepal Medical Association (NMA) are all set to work wearing black armbands from Monday as part of their protests against granting affiliation to Kathmandu National Medical College (KNMC).

The NMA,  an umbrella organization of doctors and health workers in Nepal, has demanded cancellation of the affiliation issued to the medical college against the rules. Issuing a statement, the NMA announced its protest programs against the government decision to issue affiliation to the KNMC.

According to the NMA statement, the decision to issue affiliation to the controversial medical college was against the past agreements made with them. “They were forced to launch the protest programs as the government did not heed their demands even after repeatedly drawing the attention of the concerned bodies,” it says.

The protest programs include submitting separate memorandum to the prime minister, health minister, Tribhuvan University, Nepal Medical Council and other stakeholders; holding discussing with the doctors' team that inspected the controversial medical college; seeking support from the Professionals' Alliance for Peace and Democracy (PAPAD); working with black armbands from August 28 in all government and private health institutions until another decision, and submitting memorandum to  district administration office in coordination with civil societies,   nursing professionals, health workers, PAPAD, human rights commission and organizations, journalists, and intellectuals.

“Unless the demand is addressed, we will announce severe protest programs in the next phase. The government will be responsible for the difficulties people will have to face due the protest programs,” they warned.

Tribhuvan University secretly decided to issue affiliation to the KNMC by violating the existing rules during Dr Govinda KC's 11th hunger strike, which was postponed on the 23rd day on August 15. Dr KC's one of the demands included not to allow opening medical colleges in Kathmandu within 10 years.  The Kathmandu-based medical college has neither operated hospital beds nor does it have teaching faculties and doctors. 

The controversial medical college belongs to CPN-UML cadres Basruddin Ansari and his brother. They had initially constructed a residential apartment complex at Ghattekulo of Kathmandu but later tried to convert it into a medical college after they reportedly failed to sell the apartments. Ansari is also the managing director of National Medical College in Birgunj.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) had formed an eight-member probe panel on August 22 to look into the issues regarding KNMC's affiliation. The ministry had directed the panel to submit its report within seven days.

Dr KC, a senior orthopedic surgeon at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, began his 11th fast-unto-death from July 24 demanding the government bring the Medical Education Act as per the Mathema Report; slash fees of postgraduate degree in medicine from Rs 3.1 million to Rs 2.2 million; appoint four assistant deans at IOM immediately; probe into the irregularities of TU officials and take action against them for snatching IOM's rights to decide about medical colleges. 

Five days after putting off the 11th and longest fast-unto-death, Dr KC warned on August 20 to launch his 12th hunger strike unless the government cancels its decision to provide affiliation to KNMC.

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