Dr KC not to hold talks with the government's existing talks team
KATHMANDU, July 19: Health workers all over the country are boycotting Out Patient Departments at all hospitals and health facilities from Thursday, to express their solidarity with the fast-unto-death staged by Dr Govinda KC, senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at the Institute of Medicine.
Nepal Medical Council (NMC), the professional organization of medical doctors and dentists, organized a press conference on Wednesday to announce their boycott of OPD services at all health facilities throughout the country.
"We appealed to the prime minister, health minister and education minister to save Dr KC's life and address his demands," said a statement issued by NMA. "However, the government did not listen to our appeal. So, we are going to halt OPD services though we did not want to deprive people of treatment," said Dr Lochan Karki, general secretary of NMA. "The emergency services at hospitals will, however, not be halted."
NMA has also urged health workers to be present at Maitighar at 12 noon on Thursday for staging a protest against the government and demanding fulfilment of the demands raised by Dr KC, including bringing the Medical Education Act . "If the government does not care about Dr KC's demands, the emergency services at health facilities will also be shut down," NMA said. "The government will be responsible for all the consequences."
The government talks team, which was formed on Monday, is headed by Secretary Khaga Raj Baral at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Joint-secretary Kedar Neupane of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Dr Guna Raj Lohani, director general of the Department of Public Health Services. The talks team representing Dr KC includes Dr Abhishek Raj Singh, senior advocate Surendra Bhandari, advocate Om Prakash Aryal and a representative from NMA.
Meanwhile, issuing a statement on Wednesday, Dr KC said the government should form a new, duly empowered talks team to hold discussions on his demands. "We are not ready to hold any talks with the existing government team, which has only insisted on our leaving Jumla and coming to Kathmandu. This indicates that the government intends to foil the hunger strike in any way possible," said Dr KC in his statement. "We will not sit for another round of talks until the government creates a congenial environment for it."
Two rounds of talks were held on Monday and Tuesday between the two teams, but they ended inconclusively, with the government team urging Dr KC to come to Kathmandu.