KATHMANDU, June 21: Merit is not all that is required to pursue medical degree in Nepal. What matters most is money.
The recent arrest of 55 doctors, who pursued medical degrees with the help of fake intermediate-level certificates has exposed the malfeasance plaguing the medical sector of the country.
The investigation of the intermediate degrees of about 1,000 doctors has divulge that some of the so called doctors were even from commerce and humanities backgrounds but they pursued medical degree with the help of bogus certificate.
"Weakness of the regulatory bodies like Nepal Medical Council and other agencies has also been exposed by the arrest of those doctors," said Dr Jeevan Chhetri, who has long been advocating for ending malpractices in the medical sector.
“Had that the regulatory bodies like NMC and other concerned agencies like Ministry of Education (MoE) screened those doctors at the time of entrance exam or while giving them license, parents as well as students would have be discouraged to pursue medical degree with the help of bogus certificates,” he added.
Moreover, cases of students pursuing medical degrees in foreign universities are alarming as they do not have to go through entrance exams. "There are several colleges in India, China and Bangladesh targeting Nepalese students," said Dr Chhetri, adding, no one knows what they learn in those colleges.
Officials at NMC said that the arrest of 55 doctors is just the beginning and if thorough investigations are carried out, very astonishing facts of senior doctors would be revealed. Investigation is yet to be carried out on other so called senior doctors who say they have MD and MS degrees.
"Those doctors were serving at several health facilities at the time when they claimed they were enrolled in foreign universities," an official at NMC said seeking anonymity, as he said is not authorized to speak with media.
The protest of Dr Govinda KC, a crusader, who has been struggling to end malpractices in the medical sector for years, has been justified by the revelation of the fake certificates of the doctors. Dr Chhetri said that the revelation of fake certificates of medical doctors raised serious moral questions.
"Who can guarantee that those who pursued medical degree with the help of fake +2 certificates would not involve in unethical practices?" Dr Chhetri questioned.
He said that revelation of fake certificates of doctors is more serious as it is directly linked to public health. "How can one trust the doctors with their lives when they have fake degrees?" he said.