We know that Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has health issues. He had undergone kidney transplant surgery in 2007 and ever since he keeps facing health complications intermittently. Thanks to his spirit, however, the PM presents himself as a healthy and active person. In July, while still at a poor health, Oli attended the inauguration of newly-constructed Emergency and Outpatient Service Block of Sahid Gangalal National Heart Center and informed the people he was all right. He sometimes shares the story of his life after kidney transplant in an encouraging tone. But sometimes as sensitive as Prime Minister’s health becomes the matter of several speculations. Take his most recent health treatment trip. The Prime Minister returned home from Singapore on Monday after his week-long treatment. But he did not speak to the media persons present at the airport. We came to know about his health conditions only through his and his personal secretary’s tweets. The secretary informed that his health reports were quite satisfactory. PM also tweeted thanking doctors who treated him and the well-wishers. But we still don’t know what actually was the problem with PM’s health and what kind of treatment he received. Three days after his successful treatment in Singapore, the PM reportedly fell ill on Thursday again and Nepal Communist Party secretariat meeting was postponed because of his ill health. But a day later on Friday, Prime Minister told his close cadres that he was not ill and that he has been told by the doctors that he would live for the next 20 to 25 years! These confusing accounts have made it difficult to figure out what health complications the PM is facing.
This confusion and sense of disbelief is the result of office of the prime minister not communicating to the public about Prime Minister’s health. Lack of proper communication from PM’s office and other responsible bodies has led to people making various speculations. ‘Why did the prime minister overstay in Singapore? It cannot have been just about health, he may have met someone secretly.’ So on and so forth. When the prime minister, who is also the leader of the ruling and the largest party, falls ill, it becomes the concern of the whole nation and all people. People have the right to know about the health status of the head of the government. This is why when high profile personalities are admitted in hospital, the concerned hospitals issue statements or hold press briefings about the progress in treatment or responsible authorities keep informing the people through official channels. But while Prime Minister was in Singapore for ten days, back home there was no way of knowing how his treatment is progressing. We came to know about his health conditions only after he landed in Kathmandu on Monday and he and his personal secretary declared that his health status is satisfactory.
When the PM is ill, and his health status is not shared with the larger public, it breeds various types of speculations. People talk about PM’s health means that they care about the PM. Such public concerns should be responded with timely bulletin and information dispatch from the official channel. On Friday, the prime minister said again ‘I am not ill.’ May he never be. But if his office updated us about his health last week, more people would be wishing for his early recovery.