17-23 January 2014 #690

Hospital hunger strike

Kantipur, 16 January

Sashi Sharma has made headlines since his appointment as the new Dean of Institute of Medicine (IOM) last week. This not the first time Sharma has landed himself in controversy, his name has been linked to scandals at the Nepal Medical Council where he was vice chairman. A complaint was filed against Sharma for irregularities there and his bank accounts and assets were frozen after the CIAA’s preliminary reports found him culpable. The CIAA is preparing a detailed investigation to file a corruption case against him.

Sharma was appointed last week after Prakash Sayami resigned as the IOM Dean. Sayami refused to give into the pressure to sanction affiliations to four shady medical colleges. “The newly appointed official’s qualifications and his background and his ability to monopolise TU’s affiliations is why I am protesting,” Govinda KC said before starting his fast unto death last week. “Distributing affiliations haphazardly to medical colleges will destroy the credibility of medical education which will eventually affect people’s access to quality health care.”

During Sharma’s tenure at the NMA he bypassed regulations to increase the number of medical colleges and seat allocations in several colleges. “He sanctioned dubious papers for medical colleges that weren’t supposed to have 100 seats but ended up getting approval for 175 seats,” said a medical council officer.

Sharma has defended his appointment and challenged KC’s protest. “The court will decide whether or not I am guilty,” Sharma told Kantipur. He threatened to expose others if sacked.

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