A man gifts a Nepali dhaka cap to Dr Govinda KC at Karnali Academy of Health Sciences in Jumla on Wednesday. Wednesday was the 19th day of the doctor's hunger strike demanding crucial reforms in the medical education sector. Photo: Republica
Respiratory problem worsens, heartbeat very irregular: Docs
JUMLA, June 19: Dr Govinda KC, whose fast-unto-death for reforms in medical education entered the 19th day on Wednesday, said the current government has lost any basis for holding the next round of dialogue.
The government on Monday formed a talks team to initiate a dialogue with the protesting Dr KC. However, KC has accused the government of just feigning interest in dialogue without any intention of addressing his demands.
“As the government has not yet created an environment for implementing the demands, they have no basis for holding any dialogue,” he said.
Issuing a press statement Wednesday, Dr KC further stated that the talks team consisted only of some employees. He claimed that the government does not want to take responsibility for change as it does not really care about the plight of the public.
A brief dialogue was held on Monday following the formation of the government’s talks team. Another dialogue was held on Tuesday. However, KC said the dialogue has not made any progress in addressing his demands.
His first demand for making the dialogue constructive is the immediate withdrawal of the medical education bill. He has also requested the government to send in a dialogue team with a full mandate.
“Only then would the next phase of dialogue be possible,” reads the statement of Dr KC, who is staging his hunger strike at Jumla-based Karnali Academy of Health Sciences (KAHS).
As KC’s health deteriorates, his respiratory problem has gotten worse. The heartbeat is very irregular, according to doctors involved in his treatment. The severity of his condition could require ICU treatment any time. However, KAHS does not have this crucial facility.
Furthermore, the levels of potassium, magnesium and calcium in the blood are very low, informed doctors attending to him. While Dr KC has been made aware of the complications that could arise from the low level of such electrolytes in his blood, he is still refusing to take medication.
The severity of his respiration problem has forced doctors to keep him under oxygen 24 hours a day.
Meanwhile, protests have flared in Jumla and elsewhere in support of the medical reform crusader. The agitated locals have taken to the streets shouting slogans against the government and its attitude of indifference.
All health institutes in Karnali Province have shut down operations except emergency. Such protests have been occurring since the past two days. Doctors said they would not treat patients except those in emergency and referrals. Patients meeting these criteria are receiving treatment in the open grounds.
Doctors associated with the Residents Association of the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS) and Nepal Resident Doctors Association (NRDA) stage demonstration at Basantapur, Kathmandu on Wednesday expressing solidarity with Dr Govinda KC's demands for medical sector reforms. Doctors across the country have been staging protests to pressure the government to address Dr KC's demands. Photo: Dinesh Gole/Republica