KATHMANDU, Sept 12: The Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the professional organization of doctors, postponed their protests after the Ministry of Health and Population issued a commitment letter on Monday to address their demands. The statement issued by the ministry says that the process to amend the penal code 2017 has started.
On September 3, the second day of the protest called by the NMA, and the Ministry of Health and Population concluded a common agreement to sort out the concerns raised by the doctors. The NMA has urged the government to amend Clauses 230, 231, 232 and 240 under Section 19 of Criminal Code 2017 immediately, saying that the law has categorized the doctors as criminals. The Code has provisioned three to five years imprisonment to a doctor and a fine of Rs 30,000 if a patient dies due to doctor's negligence.
Following the written commitment, the NMA also issued a statement late on Monday, postponing the protests for now. The NMA staged protests from September 2 demanding amendment to the new Muluki codes, which came into effect from August 17.
The NMA surrendered over 6,000 licenses of doctors to the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) on September 2 to protest against the new law, according to the NMA. There are over 21,000 doctors registered with the NMC. However, only about 11,000 doctors have been practicing in the country, according to the NMA. Earlier, the NMA announced on August 13 to stop checking patients and handing over apron and license to NMC. On August 16, NMA postponed its scheduled protest scheduled to begin from August 17 for 15 days, urging the government to address their demands within 15 days.