A lookback at Dr Govinda KC’s eight hunger strikes
Dilip Dhakal / September 2, 2016
After assuming office last week, the newly-appointed minister for health, Gagan Thapa, said: “I consider it is my responsibility to address the health sector concerns raised by the citizen’s movement and make sure they are resolved forever.”
Since the last five years, Dr Govinda KC of the TU Teaching Hospital has been at the forefront of campaigns demanding reforms in the medical sector and has staged record eight hunger strikes for the same. The demands Dr KC put forward in his eight hunger strikes and the achievements that followed are below:
|1st Hunger Strike||July 5-8, 2012||End political interference in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and appoint dean on the basis of seniority||Dr Kumud Kumar Kafle who was first in line to become the dean on the basis of seniority was appointed as IOM dean. However, he retired after one month due to his age limit.|
|2nd Hunger Strike||August 11-17, 2012||Since TU was once again dillydallying on dean appointment based on seniority, Dr KC reiterated the demands of the first hunger strike.||Dr Prakash Sayami appointed as dean on seniority basis.|
|3rd Hunger Strike||January 11-24, 2014
Despite Dr Sayami’s decision to stop granting affiliation to new medical colleges, the TU didn’t cooperate and Dr Sayami resigned. This prompted Dr KC to start a third round of protest.
|Suspension of several TU officials, resignation of the then dean Shashi Sharma and dean appointment based on seniority.
|Agreement reached to end affiliation to new medical colleges, draw up of a national medical education bill, and appoint dean at IOM on seniority basis.|
|4th Hunger Strike||February 8 -15, 2014
|– Immediate action against IOM’s corrupt officials
– Suspension of the directive of parliamentary committee on granting affiliation to new colleges
– Implement the recommendations of the Medical Education Commission
– Take actions against Kathmandu University (KU) officials since KU gave affiliations to new medical colleges in violation of past agreements and cabinet decision
– IOM, NAMS and other bodies should have officials appointed on seniority basis
– Immediately start the process to establish medical colleges in rural areas
|-Dr Rakesh Srivastav appointed dean on the basis of seniority
-Agreement reached to seek clarification from TU officials
-Ask CIAA to look into cases regarding new affiliation
-Call university meeting within 21 days to make IOM autonomous.
|5th Hunger Strike||February 20 – March 3, 2015||– No new affiliations to medical colleges until medical education policy is in place,
– Implement previous agreements
– If CIAA chief is found exerting pressure in college affiliations then action must be taken against him
– Medical, nursing and paramedical colleges should be free of cost or have nominal fee
– Graduate and higher-level of medical education should be completely free of cost
|-No new affiliations would be granted until the formulation of Medical Education Policy
– Report of the probe committee on irregularities to be sent to CIAA for further investigation
– Bill regarding medical university to be presented in parliament within three months
-Probe committee report to be implemented to formulate medical education policy
-Officials to be appointed on seniority basis, provision to be included to de-affiliate medical colleges if they fail to meet criteria, among others
|6th Hunger Strike||August 24 – September 6, 2015||– Mathema report be made public and implemented
– Past agreements be immediately implemented
– New officials be appointed based on seniority and performance
– Action be taken against the owners of Janaki Medical College.
|– Agreement to form medical education commission as per the recommendation of the Mathema report
– Gradually reduce the number of seats in medical colleges to 100 in the next three years
– MBBS and MD fees to be fixed at Rs 3.5 million and Rs 2.3 million respectively
– Action to be taken against TU and KU officials if found involved in irregularities, among other things
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|7th Hunger Strike||September 19- 29, 2015
|Implementation of the 11-point agreement from last round of talks.
(Dr KC called off the hunger strike citing the current crisis in the country caused by the agitation in Tarai)
|8th hunger strike||July 10 – 25, 2016||– Add important points in the medical policy
– Impeachment of CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki
– Manmohan Academy bill be withdrawn from parliament
– Past agreements regarding dean appointment and others be implemented.
|– Government to buy the infrastructure of the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences by the government
– Include in the proposed bill a provision of at least one state-run medical college in all provinces
– No permission to be given to new medical, dental and nursing colleges for 10 years in the Kathmandu Valley
– Government to make necessary amendments to the Health Profession Education Commission Bill that calls for free medical seats in government medical colleges and establishing medical schools in each province.
– On his demand for impeachment of CIAA chief Karki, Dr KC was informed that the issue has already entered parliament.
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