Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Sick politics

When Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula started having hearing problems, he left for New Delhi. Doctors say he needs a shot to fix the vessels connecting his left ear to his throat. Sitaula also has diabetes and has been watching what he eats for two decades. In addition, he is a strict vegetarian, does not drink, and avoids onions.

The whole country knows about Prime Minister Koirala's health problems. He is on oxygen for much of the day. He suffers from chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which means he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He has to have an MRI every two days. Doctors suspected that Koirala had TB and started treating him, but the nasty side effects of the medication outweighed the illness, and he is no longer on TB drugs.

Madhab Nepal suffers from cardiovascular stenosis, or the narrowing of a heart valve. He says he is very careful about his health. He has been exercising and doing yoga and lost 6kg recently.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal has high blood pressure. "I did not have this problem during the 'people's war', but developed it after I started living in Kathmandu," he says.

Sher Bahadur Deuba is an asthmatic chain-smoker. He has a stomach ailment that has in the past taken him to Bangkok and Delhi for treatment. He is also understood to have severe skin problems, which is why his wife takes him in for a weekly facial. Sushil Koirala has tongue cancer and went to the US last year for surgery. All his teeth had to be pulled out, which is why he has trouble speaking loudly these days. He is also diabetic. Shailaja Acharya has breast cancer. She announced last year that since she has to go to India for treatment regularly, she wouldn't mind being Nepal's ambassador there.

Baburam Bhattarai says his stomach problems have started to get better after he started regular yoga. Mohan Baidya, a voracious reader, has undergone many surgeries for the removal of cataracts, but still cannot see very clearly. Other Maoist leaders like Ram Bahadur Thapa and Post Bahadur Bogati say they do not yet have serious health problems. However, Krishna Prasad Mahara does have a sight problem for which he was operated upon last year at Tilganga. He is on regular medication, must use medicated eyedrops, and frequently visit hospitals.

Bam Dev Gautam and Ram Chandra Poudel both have back problems. Gautam has gained some weight in the last few months and now weighs 90kg. He was in New Delhi last year for treatment and also goes for acupuncture. Ram Sharan Mahat and his brother Prakash Sharan Mahat both suffer from back problems. Arjun Narsingh KC also has back problems, likes to drink, and chews around 10 leaves of tobacco everyday.

UML leader Bidya Bhandari was diagnosed with leukaemia recently and has been undergoing chemotherapy in New Delhi. Khum Bahadur Khadka has kidney trouble. "When my kidneys were good, I didn't have the money for alcohol. Now I have some money, but my kidneys have failed me," he was heard joking recently.

Sujata Koirala has uterine problems and has been treated at Sushma Koirala Memorial Hosipal.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)