KATHMANDU, July 25: The Out Patient Department (OPD) services at hospitals were not shut down but were partially affected Tuesday as doctors and health workers are in protest supporting the agitation staged by Dr Govinda KC.
Although the OPDs were open at hospitals across the country only the faculty doctors were providing the services as the resident doctors have boycotted work to pressure the government to heed the demands of by Dr KC.
The resident doctors at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Academy of Medical Sciences (Bir Hospital) and BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan boycotted all services except emergency services at their hospitals from Tuesday, according to the National Resident Doctors Association. Although the faculty doctors provided the services it was not enough to handle all the patients who come to the hospitals for checkups.
The doctors have been staging rallies in front of their respective hospitals after the Nepal Medical Association (NMA), an umbrella organization of doctors, announced the nationwide protests. This has definitely affected the services at the hospitals, said Dr Dhundi Raj Paudel, senior vice president of the NMA, and ethical committee member of Nepal Medical Council. “Our intention is not to halt the services at hospitals but to put pressure on the government to heed Dr KC’s demands,” he added.
Dr KC, a senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at IOM, has undauntedly struggled against the government by staging fasts-unto-death for a total of 191 days till Tuesday, demanding reforms in the medical sector since 2012. He staged hunger strikes — seven times during Nepali Congress-led governments, six times during communist-led governments and twice during the Khil Raj Regmi-led government in the last six years.
Dr KC, who started staging hunger strikes in July 2012 demanding reforms in the health sector and against the medical mafia, started his 15th hunger strike from June 30 in Jumla.
Dr KC’s major demands with the government include the withdrawal of the Medical Education Bill which has been registered in parliament by changing the major provisions of the Medical Education Ordinance issued twice earlier. Dr KC has insisted on bringing the Medical Education Act without making any change to the Medical Education Ordinance, which has provisioned 75 percent scholarships at government medical colleges and restriction on opening new private medical colleges in Kathmandu for 10 years.
The ordinance has provisioned not allowing a university to grant affiliation to more than five private medical colleges as per the report recommended by a probe panel headed by Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University.