KATHMANDU, July 9: Nepal Medical Association (NMA) on Sunday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the government to address the demands raised by senior surgeon Dr Govinda KC, who has been on a hunger strike in Jumla for the past nine days.
Submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister KP Oli at his residence, a delegation of the NMA, the professional organization of medical doctors and dentists in Nepal, threatened to shut down health facilities across the country if the demands are not addressed within the deadline. The list of demands includes implementation of past agreements signed with Dr KC and bringing the National Medical Education Bill in line with the report prepared by the Mathema Taskforce.
At the meeting, NMA members warned the government of shutting down all the services except for emergency at hospitals to save Dr KC’s life. In response, PM Oli said that he would study Dr KC’s demands and give his response soon.
The prime minister during the meeting had indicated that the government may not agree to Dr KC’s demand to impose a 10-year moratorium on new medical colleges in the Kathmandu Valley. The prime minister also indicated that he would not go back on the decision to ban protests at Maitighar Mandala.
“If Dr KC’s demands are not addressed, we will be forced to shut down health facilities or be ready to take any action to save him though we don’t want to halt medical services and deprive people of their rights,” said Dr Dhundi Raj Paudel, senior vice president of the NMA and a member of the ethical committee.
Dr KC has staged several hunger strikes in the past five years demanding reforms in medical sector. This is his 15th hunger strike against the government. By changing the bill prepared by the erstwhile government, KP Oli government wants to grant affiliations to some private medical colleges run by leaders close to his party, Nepal Communist Party.