KATHMANDU, July 14: Dozens of post-graduate (PG) degree holders in medicine have been accused of visiting power centers including influential political leaders, former ministers and their aides to get license from Nepal Medical Council (NMC) after they failed the tests taken by the NMC.
A total of 235 master's degree holders in medicine, who completed their postgraduate degree with different specializations from People's Republic of China, sat for the test taken recently by NMC. But only 71 candidates (30.21 percent) passed the test, according to NMC.
It is reported that the PG degree holders who failed the test have approached the power centers to get license from the NMC. It is mandatory for an MD or an MBBS student to take permission from the NMC in order to practice in the health facilities.
Erstwhile Health Minister Gagan Thapa admitted that dozens of MD pass-outs, who failed the NMC test, approached him for influencing NMC to pass them. “Nearly two dozen candidates contacted me in a single day, asking me to recommend to the NMC to issue licenses to them,” he said. “This kind of tendency is a crime in the health sector to underestimate the gravity of the public health. It should be completely discouraged,” he added.
Failed students have not only approached the influential leaders but also the aides of political leaders or former ministers. “Some candidates also asked me to influence the leaders for their nonsense interest,” said Jeevan Bhandari, former press advisor to Gagan Thapa. “It is like an aspiring teacher who failed the exam but demanded to get a permanent job as a teacher without taking screening tests.”
PG holders in Radiology are in the highest number to fail the test, said Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar at NMC. “No candidate of Orthopedic Specialists passed the NMC test,” he added. “However, they have not dared to approach us for issuing license without passing the exams.”
Only four examinees out of 61 candidates in Radiology passed the NMC test while no one out of 20 candidates in Orthopedics passed the exams, according to NMC.
It is natural to question the competence of PG degree holders in medicine if they fail the test, said Dr Sharma. “It is because of those PG degree holders who could afford to study abroad without having the required proficiency,” he said. “Some students go abroad for their studies at low-profile universities after being disqualified for admission in Nepal and other good universities.”
There are more than 600 intakes annually for PG including MD/MS/MDS courses in the medical colleges under Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University in Nepal. The medical colleges affiliated to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) under TU enroll around 170 MD/MS/MDS new students every year.
According to NMC, more than 6,000 MD/MS degree holders are registered at the medical apex body. Several PG degree holders are practicing at different health facilities without registering with NMC, said NMC officials.
Dr Kiran Regmi, secretary at the Ministry of Health, said such practices are against the rules. “We are going to look into these issues,” Dr Regmi said. “Whoever they are - either PG or MBBS degree holders - we will take action against them soon,” she added.