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Sinking fast

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

18th day 02

Crusading physician Govinda KC’s fast enters its 19th day on Friday. Even as his health deteriorates, Parliament shows no sign giving in to his demands to clean up the greed and corruption in medical education that keeps Nepal’s health care unaffordable and inaccessible.

Parliament fast tracked the National Medication Education Bill 2016, but not in the way KC has demanded. He had wanted a 10-year moratorium on new private medical colleges, but a Parliament task force formed to revise the bill submitted its draft to the Social Welfare Committee of Parliament to be tabled in the House on Friday.

The taskforce is said to have added a clause to the bill, allowing medical colleges which had already received their Letter of Intent and built infrastructure to go ahead. If the bill is passed, at least five new medical colleges will spring up in Kathmandu Valley alone.

KC has rejected the draft bill and his negotiators have refused to talk with the government delegation. After 18 days without food and water on Thursday, the doctor is sinking fast. Physician Dibya Singh at Teaching Hospital warned: “He may pass out and need medical resuscitation.”

Both the ruling and opposition party MPs reject KC’s demand, saying no one can infringe on the right of the legislature to pass laws. Sociologist Chaitanya Mishra agrees, but adds: “If owners of banks, private schools and private medical colleges  pass bills in the guise of MPs it is not acceptable.”

Indeed, private medical colleges are either owned by politicians or have political protection. Given the scant disregard politicians showed towards another hunger striker, Nanda Prasad Adhikari who died during his fast in 2014, many now fear for Govinda KC’s life.

If the bill is passed, KC says is resolute: his fast will continue. Bhagawan Koirala, vice chair of the committee that drafted the bill, offers a prescription: “Only those colleges that have a 300-bed hospital, have operated for at least three years, built infrastructure and met all new criteria should be allowed, and KC must show flexibility to accept it.”

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One Response to “Sinking fast”

  1. anonymous on Says:

    Bottom line is the whole country wants this resolved.

    If there was like in other countries somebody with the capacity to move forward in the righ direction without going round in circles. Who in Nepal or abroad can end this?

    And what would it take today tomorrow.

    You can amend constitutions as we know if the medical fraudulous no standard education institutions are being pushed because of income it is like the bad private schools.

    For your health he should not die. Kill the constitution. And build prisons for wrong doers. I feel like a relative my father is a doctor ( died) and I was KC (divorced).

    This is your buddhs. Every uneducated taxi driver feels he is good for his country. If he dies it makes all of us murderers.

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