South Asia

Nepal’s crusading doctor begins indefinite fast demanding reform

With a senior surgeon beginning his indefinite fast at a prominent hospital on Saturday and its executive director resigning in solidarity, medical care in the country is likely to be affected.

Two weeks after ending a similar protest after the government assured him to address his demands, Dr. Govinda KC resumed protest at the Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), accusing the TU Executive Council and the government of breaching the agreement reached then.

He had given an ultimatum (2 p.m. Saturday) to the government and the council to address the demands raised by him and the medical fraternity that agrees with his demands.

With doctors at other government hospitals likely to join Dr. Govinda KC in his protest medical care is likely to be seriously affected as in the past.

The hardest hit would be those who travel from outside Kathmandu to get specialist care.

“I have resumed my protest since the government and the (TU) Executive Council failed to honour their commitment they made two weeks ago,” Dr. KC told media persons from the venue of his fast — one of the rooms on the ground floor of a building in the hospital complex.

The doctor, known for his integrity and simple life, he lives in the hospital quarters and donates most of his salary for the care of poor patients, though, faced a barrage of questions from the media persons over disruptions to medical care due to his protest. “I am aware of the trouble faced by patients and their families and I apologise to them,” said the doctor. He was, however, quick to add that the medical fraternity was justified in joining him.

This is the fourth time that he has begun such a fast, demanding an end to political interference in the functioning of the hospital — considered by many as among the best non-private hospitals — and immediate appointment of a Dean to the TUTH.

His last fast, lasting about two weeks, ended on January 22. Among his other demands are granting the TUTH an autonomous status, stop giving affiliation to new private medical colleges until a comprehensive national health policy is formulated, and dismissal of TU’s Vice-Chancellor, the Rector and the Registrar who he accuses of corruption.

Meanwhile, Executive Director at the TUTH, Dr. Bhagwan Koirala, who had supported Dr. KC’s protests in the past, resigned the previous day. His resignation was accepted by the TU Executive Council.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 1:52:23 AM |

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