As senior orthopedic surgeon and the crusader of medical sector reforms in Nepal Dr Govinda KC ended his 17th hunger strike owing to the border encroachment by India, no agreement is signed at this time around on the name of improvising the medical sector in Nepal. Dr. KC had started his 17th hunger strike in Dadeldhuara demanding that the government implemented its own decisions and agreements that the government had signed with him during his last hunger strike.
Since public sentiment has been focused on the issue of border encroachment, his decision to end the hunger strike is highly appreciated from different quarters. Though he has ended his 17th hunger strike sans any agreement and commitments from the government’s side, his demands to reform in the medical sector are not ended yet. It is likely that Dr. KC would start another hunger strike neither raising the same demands as neither the government has fulfilled his demand nor tending to fulfill its commitment. The widespread concern of now is that the government has to present responsibly towards the demands raised by Dr. KC though he has ended his hunger strike sans any agreement at this time around.
The government has to realize here that Dr. KC has won millions of admirers since he first started hunger strike to get the government address his demands in 2012. We have also a strong conviction that Dr. KC has done nothing mistakes by exerting pressure to the government to fulfill its past commitments made to reform the medical sector. Likewise, the recent one demand like establishment of a medical college in Doti and fulfillment of the demands of health workers of public hospitals in the far-west would not term illusory demands.
If we overlook the seven years period of Dr KC, he has put his life on the line to pressure the government to work for the welfare of the needy people especially in the health and medical education sector but not for the sake of his own or his family members’ gain. He has become a symbol of integrity as he has been demanding relentlessly irrespective of which political party is in the government though attempts were also made in the past to label him as the politically bias. The government and the political parties have to examine themselves rather than trading blame to others like Dr. KC, always devoted for the welfare of the common people. The government would win the heart of the people only if it fulfills Dr. KC’s demands sans further delay.
Though the government has taken some important decisions to improve the medical sector, it has failed to bring into implementation. The government seems to have failed to rise above from the clutch of medical mafia, thanks to the vested interests of some medical entrepreneurs. It is shameful that the medical colleges have been threatening the government to stop the admission of medical students from this session even if the government does not allow them to exert extra fees from the students. The thing to realize here is that such a treat issued by the private medical entrepreneurs is not only the sheer violence of the Medical Education Bill that was passed into law in February this year but also the satire to the incumbent two third majority backed government.
The law has brought some progressive provisions such as establishing at least one medical college each within five years in each province, not issuing letters of intent to the private sector to open medical, dental and nursing colleges with bachelor’s level courses inside the Kathmandu Valley for 10 years from the date of enactment of the Medical Education Act, making MBBS graduates who studied under government scholarship serve for one year each in the remote and urban areas, and setting up the sealing of fee structures of the medical students. However, the government has not been able to enforce its own good decision either. As Dr. KC has ended his hunger strike in the mean time when medical students have launched protest program demanding the implementation of the law regarding the fee structures, the government should not delay to implementation the law.