Medicine has always been considered a moneyed profession that guarantees prestige along with a steady job. Unemployment was never a problem for a medical doctor. But, times are changing. Each year, around 700 fresh medical graduates pass out of colleges in Nepal. These include the products from more than a dozen private medical colleges in the country and those who return home after completing their studies abroad. To their swelling numbers add the significant number of doctors who already have established practices, predominantly in urban areas. This only serves to make jobs scarcer, since few are willing to go to the districts. A medical degree costs an average of Rs 2 million and fresh doctors prefer public hospital jobs, even though they are poorly paid, which is why there are so many volunteer doctors in city hospitals these days. Finding jobs fresh out of college is difficult because almost all the positions are reserved for established senior practitioners, so many graduates end up as assistants to the latter at their private practice.
More than 4,100 doctors have received licences from the medical council. Around 2,000 foreign doctors have also been granted licences for one year and nearly 2,200 junior doctors are still in training. And now Indian doctors are taking jobs that Nepali doctors need.