ICYMI: Here are our top stories from Saturday, August 24Here are some of the top stories from The Kathmandu Post (August 24, 2019).
How Nepal’s oldest hospital, and the government that runs it, continue to fail the country’s poor
Laxmi Prasad Niraula was brought to Bir Hospital in Kathmandu on July 29, all the way from Ilam. Niraula was suffering from jaundice and had fluid accumulating in his stomach. He had been referred to Bir Hospital by the Nobel Medical College in Biratnagar and required immediate treatment. On the afternoon of July 30, Niraula remained on a bed in the emergency ward, awaiting treatment. Attending doctors had told his relatives that Niraula couldn’t be admitted to the hospital because there were no beds free in the general ward. He could seek treatment at a private hospital instead, he was told.
“I wouldn’t have come here if I could afford private care,” 52-year-old Niraula told the Post. “I will stay here until I receive treatment or I will die.”
Every day, dozens of underprivileged patients like Niraula visit Nepal’s oldest hospital, not because it is the best medical care facility in the country but because it performs a vital public service—it treats the poor for free. But every day, numerous patients face the same dilemma that is plaguing Niraula. The hospital is overcrowded and it doesn’t have enough beds, forcing doctors to ask patients, even desperately poor ones from the country’s hinterlands, to seek treatment elsewhere. But these patients can’t afford care anywhere else, so many of them end up camping out in or outside Bir Hospital, waiting for a bed in the general ward. More here by Arjun Poudel.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang to arrive in the second week of September
Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi will be arriving in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit in the second week of September, according to foreign ministry officials. Wang’s arrival is expected to set the stage for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s likely visit in October, a visit long awaited in Nepal.
Wang will be the first high-level Chinese politician to arrive in Kathmandu since the formation of the KP Sharma Oli government in February last year.
Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had invited Wang to visit Nepal when he travelled to Beijing in the first week of July to attend the 13th World Economic Forum annual meeting in Dalian. He had later visited Beijing and held talks with Wang, his counterpart. Anil Giri with the report here.
A semblance of calm has returned to Tikapur, but the demands of Tharus remain unaddressed
In 2015, as the new constitution was set to be promulgated, a large section of Nepalis—Madhesis, Tharus and Janajatis—were protesting the statute on the grounds that various provisions had marginalised them and that their demands were being ignored.
Protests in the Tarai continued for days, with at least 50 people killed in violent clashes. August 24, 2015 was one of the deadliest days, when at least nine people, including a police official and a toddler, were killed in Tikapur. The clash was a result of simmering discontent among Tharus against a campaign called ‘Akhanda Sudurpaschim’, or Undivided Far West, which was backed by the leaders of the major parties. A clampdown and a curfew ensued. There were arbitrary arrests and many Tharus fled as houses were burnt down and people from the indigenous community attacked.
Today, August 24, marks four years since the Tikapur incident. More here by Tika R Pradhan.