Cronyism to the maximumBlatant cronyism is continually displayed in the medical education sector, despite the efforts of individuals such as Dr Govinda KC, who recently conducted his 11th hunter strike in protest of the politics involved in healthcare education.
Blatant cronyism is continually displayed in the medical education sector, despite the efforts of individuals such as Dr Govinda KC, who recently conducted his 11th hunter strike in protest of the politics involved in healthcare education. It has recently come to light that the affiliation granted to the Kathmandu National Medical College (KNMC) on July 27 by the TU Executive Council was based on falsified reports.
A mandate by the Supreme Court declares that the TU council can only grant affiliation if medical colleges fulfil necessary requirements; a special inspection team is required to issue a recommendation vouching that the medical college is up to par. And in the specific case of KNMC, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the inspection team was far off the mark.
The report issued by the special inspection team claimed that the KNMC has a resident faculty of 65 specialised doctors and provides services to more than 50 patients daily. However, when the Kathmandu Post team visited KNMC this past Sunday and Monday, they saw no patients in the Out Patient Department, only a handful of MBBS graduates on duty, and no senior doctors on sight at all. What’s more, despite the inspection team’s report that there were more than 2,000 medical books in KNMC’s library, it was revealed that KNMC does not have nearly enough books of any nature, let alone a proper library.
KNMC is an extension of the Birgunj-based National Medical College (NMC), a college that recently gained notoriety for refusing to admit postgraduate students on the Institute of Medicine’s merit list. NMC also did not follow the Supreme Court’s mandate that all medical colleges under the TU umbrella charge students fees aligned to TU’s standard, instead charging exorbitant fees and admitting unqualified doctors to its postgraduate programme.
It should be noted that both these colleges are owned by Basruddin Ansari, known CPN-UML supporter and alleged UML mayoral candidate for Birgunj. Cronyism, it seems, is alive and well in the medical education sector. That the TU council decided to vote for the affiliation of this apartment building turned medical school—on the basis of a falsified inspection—is outrageous. That it happened while Dr KC was on a fast-unto-death in a fight against corruption and cronyism in healthcare and medical education in Nepal, is frankly embarrassing for all parties.
To put the people’s faith back into the medical care and education system, TU needs to rescind what is essentially a misinformed and illegal decision. It also needs to conduct an investigation on how the inspection report came to be falsified, and strictly punish the guilty. Lawmakers need to band together to pass the Health Profession Education (HPE) Bill so that such self-serving and subversive moves do not recur. The onus is on all political parties to set aside self-interests and pass this pro-people Bill without the proposed self-serving amendments.