KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Government doctors continued their protest against the government's plan for adjustment of doctors in the three tiers of government as per the federal structure of the country.
The doctors launched the agitation against the government "because they will be kept under the local bodies instead of the federal government, according to the Government Doctors' Association of Nepal (GODAN). The doctors organized a march on Monday, from Bir Hospital to the Ministry of Health and Population.
The doctors have opposed the Federal Civil Service Bill, which treats them as civil servants, allowing them to be shifted from one service group to another. According to the Bill, doctors working at the center will be under the federal government while the doctors assigned at the provinces and local units will not be transferred to the center.
Dr Dipendra Pandey, president of GODAN, said that they organized a protest program on Monday at Bir Hospital and then marched to the Ministry of Health and Population. “However, we were barred from entering the ministry today,” said Dr Pandey, “We will continue our peaceful protests till February 15. If the government does not listen to us, then we will take another decision for further protest programs, which will be tougher,” he warned.
In police action, including baton-charge, on Sunday, against the agitating doctors, at least 25 doctors were detained and three were injured at the Ministry of Health and Population while staging a sit-in against the government for not implementing the agreement signed with GODAN.
An agreement was signed on January 13 between the agitating doctors and a team of the Ministry of Health and Population. Earlier the government doctors staged protests against the government initiative to fill up the government employee adjustment forms as per the Civil Service Adjustment Ordinance.
According to GODAN, the doctors launched the protests forwarding their 14 demands, issuing a five-point charter. The 14 demands raised by the doctors include objection against Civil Servants Adjustment Ordinance, appointment of health secretary, appointment of Vice Chancellor at National Academy of Medical Sciences (Bir Hospital), Federal Civil Service Act, among others.
According to the GODAN, there are 1,600 doctors working at government health facilities across the country. A record of Nepal Medical Council (NMC) shows that more than 21,000 doctors are registered with the NMC.
Meanwhile, Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella organization of doctors, condemned the government for baton-charging doctors and arresting them from peaceful protests. The NMA has also demanded that the government address the demands raised by the doctors.