276 revisions sought in health edu billLawmakers have filed a total of 276 amendments to the Health Profession Education Bill-2016, with a majority seeking removal of the 10-year moratorium on establishing nursing and medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley.
Lawmakers have filed a total of 276 amendments to the Health Profession Education Bill-2016, with a majority seeking removal of the 10-year moratorium on establishing nursing and medical colleges in Kathmandu Valley.
The concern of parliamentarians also reveals their interest in operating medical colleges. Some of them are believed to have invested in the sector.
The number of MPs registering the amendments is 54. For instance, MPs Rajendra Pandey, Naresh Kharel and Man Kumar Gautam have requested removal of Clause 12 (a) that bars the opening of new medical college in the Valley for a decade. Dr Bansidhar Mishra has filed for removal of Clause 12, sub-clause (b), which requires a hospital to run a 300-bed facility to qualify for running a medical school.
CPN-UML MPs including Pandey and Mishra had
stakes in the Manmohan Memorial Academy of Health Sciences, which the government decided to acquire following a series of hunger strikes by Dr Govinda KC. The facility was widely criticised for using its political clout to obtain the permission to run MBBS classes in the Capital. The infrastructure will be used by the National Academy of Health Sciences, Bir Hospital.
Discussion on the bill is likely to begin soon at the Women, Children, Elderly Citizen and Social Welfare Committee of the Legislature-Parliament. The committee consulted with experts on the bill last week before tabling it in Parliament.
Several parliamentarians have pressed for removal of a provision that mandates universities to grant affiliation to only one medical college in a district. As many as 34 amendments have been sought on the proposal.
Other MPs including Prem Giri, Bishal Bhattarai, Kedar Prasad Sanjel, Ganesh Prasad Bimali and Kamala Ghimire have demanded only five percent seat allocation for government scholarships by medical colleges having Nepali investors if they establish the institute in areas prioritised by the government.
Currently, such medical colleges are required to allocate 10 percent of the seats approved by the Nepal Medical Council for scholarships while the schools run by foreign investors should allocate 15 percent quotas.
Experts, however, argue that removing major provisions from the bill will have a lasting impact on the future of medical education in the country.
“The MPs should see the rationale behind our proposal. We have proposed the clauses for quality, accessibility and equitable distribution [of the college seats],” said Kedar Bhakta Mathema, who led the committee that drafted the Health Profession Education Policy. “These provisions were proposed after rigorous discussion among experts and it is necessary to honour our expertise.”
He urged parliamentarians to expedite the endorsement process in order for the Health Profession Education Commission to be formed soon. The HPEC mentioned in the bill is an overarching framework that will look after medical, nursing and other health-related courses. It will also be the focal body to monitor and supervise medical schools in the country and ensure their quality.
“Trying to remove the major provisions is unacceptable. And many of the parliamentarians have no grasp of the spirit of regulating medical schools,” said Dr Bhagwan Koirala, who led the bill drafting committee.