Govinda KC in Saptari
Dr Govinda KC of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital does not only represent the voice for much-needed reforms in country’s medical education sector, he is a person with a great heart and great conviction. He has been single-handedly fighting against the entrenched medical mafia by putting his life on the line for the last few years. During his eighth hunger strike about two weeks ago, attempts had been made by his opponents to project him in the negative light. They argued that Dr KC’s protest was directed against certain private medical colleges rather than for broader reforms. His detractors, however, have always failed to prove their point. His eighth struggle against medical mafia forced the government to sign an agreement with him, which among other things has ensured at least one medical college in each (future) federal province, bringing controversial Manmohan Medical College under the ambit of Bir Hospital, providing for 50 percent free seats in government-run medical colleges and preventing possibility of allowing new medical colleges inside Kathmandu valley for the next ten years. This was his victory against those opposed to reforms in country’s health and medical education. Dr KC is in even more noble mission this time. He has reached Saptari, one of the most flood-affected districts, to heal the wounds of the displaced and the injured.
And this hardly after two weeks of his 16-day long hunger strike. He reached Tilathi, Saptari by a night bus to help flood victims with basic medical care. He has bought essential medicine, food and fruits with his own money and has led a team of few medical students along with him. It goes without saying that the people in flood-affected districts in Tarai are desperately waiting for relief materials and medical care. Government response has been slow but a number of people from across the country are contributing towards supporting those in need. A number of voluntary groups have been collecting food and other essentials to send them to flood affected areas. With Dr KC joining in, it is sure to add impetus to gather support for the noble cause.
We believe this particular visit to Saptari by Dr KC is meaningful in other ways as well. For one, it has given a fitting reply to his detractors who accuse him of serving interests of particular groups by raising ‘slogan’ of affordable health treatment to the poor and the needy. It should be noted that Dr KC is among the first doctors to reach out to the injured with medicine during the times of natural calamities. He had served the earthquake injured with the same spirit back in 2015. Two, a sharp division had been created between people from Madhesh and hills during Madhesh movement. This divide was perceived rather than real but it had fuelled resentment in one community against the other. Harmony between the divided communities can be restored when one community serves other community in need. A number of Madheshi youth had raised donations to help the victims when devastating earthquake ravaged country’s hills in 2015. This spirit has always kept our social bonding strong. Hard times test man’s generosity. Dr KC has shown (like in the past) that his sense of helping people in need transcends regional boundaries. Politicians, activists, celebrities and aid workers in Kathmandu should follow his footsteps. The noble soul has shown us the way. We should all follow him.