Doctors put pressure on the government to save Dr KCDoctors across the country said on Sunday that they would stage a relay hunger strike starting Monday to press the government to save the live of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on his 16th fast-unto-death for the last 19 days.
Doctors across the country said on Sunday that they would stage a relay hunger strike starting Monday to press the government to save the life of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on his 16th fast-unto-death for the last 19 days.
The Nepal Medical Association (NMA), the umbrella organisation of medical and dental doctors in the country, said that they would stage a relay hunger strike from 10am to 5 pm every day.
The doctors’ protest announcement comes three days after the ruling Nepal Communist Party bulldozed the amended National Medical Education Bill through Parliament amid opposition from the Nepali Congress.
“The first phase of our protest will have a relay hunger strike, and those who want to attend to patients are free to do so. But if the government continues to disregard KC’s ongoing fast and puts his life at further risk, we will be forced to intensify our protest,” Dr Mukti Ram Shrestha, president of the medical association, told the Post.
Doctors within the Kathmandu Valley have been requested to join the relay hunger strike at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, where KC is staging his hunger strike. The medical association has called on doctors outside the Valley to stage relay hungers strikes on the premises of their respective hospitals or the branches and sub-branches of the NMA.
“Our only concern is the government must take an immediate step to save KC. The government clearly knows what it should do—address KC’s concerns,” said Shrestha.
According to the doctors attending to KC, potassium level in his blood has significantly decreased, resulting in palpitations.
“KC had some heart problem due to which some medicines had been prescribed earlier. But after he started his hunger strike, he has not been taking the medicine saying it needs to be taken through the mouth,” Dr Pramesh Sundar Shrestha, a member of KC’s medical team, told the Post. “His white blood cells count has also decreased. KC recently complained of chest pain as well and he is feeling difficulty in breathing.”
KC launched his 16th hunger strike on January 9 from Ilam to protest a parliamentary committee’s move of amending some crucial provisions of the bill. He had demanded that the government abide by a deal it had reached with him on July 26.
The deal had it that the government would address KC’s concerns and that the bill would be passed in “its original form” which had incorporated the recommendations made by a high-level commission formed under Kedar Bhakta Mathema, a former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University.
KC has continued his hunger strike even after the amended bill was endorsed, calling on the National Assembly to send the bill back to the House of Representatives for amendments.
The bill is set to be tabled in the National Assembly on Monday.
Social activists have also requested the government to address the demand of KC as per their previous assurances and agreements.
Issuing a statement on Sunday, activists including Mathema, former chief justice Sushila Karki, social entrepreneur Mahabir Pun and heart surgeon Dr Raamesh Koirala, among others, appealed the government to address KC’s demands and incorporate the recommendations of the Mathema committee.
Sit-in in support of KC
SUNSARI: Three hundred and fifty junior doctors of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) have been staging a sit-in in BPKIHS for the last three days demanding the government revise the newly endorsed Medical Education Bill. Doctors said that the sit-in has been organised to express their solidarity with Dr Govinda KC, the anti-corruption crusader, who has been staging his 16th fast-unto-death strike demanding reforms be made in the medical sector. Dr Kabiraj Paudel said that their sit-in will continue until the government addresses KC’s demands.(PR)