Nepali medical students from foreign universities can intern in NepalLongstanding ban on internships by students of foreign universities has been lifted for one time only.
Lifting an over a decade-old ban, the Medical Education Commission has decided to allow Nepali medical students from foreign universities to do internships in Nepal. Nepali students from Chinese universities are expected to benefit from the decision.
Dozens of Nepali students, who completed their MBBS studies from China but couldn’t do their internships, had been staging protests demanding that they should be allowed to undergo the post-study practice in their home country.
The commission has given the students concerned 12-days starting Thursday to apply for internships. All the students, who have completed their MBBS studies by April 2020, are eligible for internship. “The ban has been lifted for one time to address the concerns of the students who could not undergo their internships due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Semant Koirala, an under-secretary at the commission, told the Post. The MBBS students, after completing their five years of study, need to complete one year of practice under supervision at hospitals before their graduation.
An estimated 200 students mainly from various Chinese universities and colleges haven’t graduated, despite completing their studies in 2019, in the lack of internship opportunities. According to the education consultancies that facilitate the students to study MBBS abroad, students from 2015 and earlier batches will benefit from the commission’s decision. Milan Gyawali, managing director at Speed International Education Consultancy, said MBBS students in various Chinese universities and colleges, who had been doing their internships had to return home in February and March last year without completing the training due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hence, they couldn’t graduate.
“Although their Chinese universities had last year given their students permission to do internships in Nepal itself, the students could not undertake internships due to a longstanding ban and lost a year,” Gyawali told the Post. “Students who completed their MBBS studies this year should also be allowed to undertake internships in Nepal,” he demanded.
The students, who had joined MBBS in 2016, completed their five years of study earlier this year.
Various countries including China haven’t allowed Nepali students to reenter after they were sent home on a pandemic break in early 2020. But these students have been continuing their studies online.
The students who were earlier unable to start their internships said they lost an entire year due to the delay by the commission in lifting the ban. “I had already completed seven months in my internship when the pandemic compelled me to return home last year,” Era Shrestha, an MBBS student from Dali University in China, told the Post. “I would have graduated by now had the commission made the decision on time.” Shrestha applied for an internship at Bir Hospital on Thursday itself.
Officials at the commission say they don’t have information if medical students from countries other than China also have faced a similar problem. “We can tell only after July 20, the deadline to submit the form for the internship, whether there are students from other countries as well,” said Koirala.
China was the most preferred destination for Nepali students to study medicine before the government decided to bar Nepali students studying abroad from doing internships in Nepal. Now, most of the students travel to Bangladesh for MBBS studies.
The Council had introduced the ban in May 2007. The council said students who have not completed their internships in countries where they studied, would not be allowed to apply for a medical practice licence in Nepal. After finding that hospitals were ignoring the ban and still allowing foreign students to undergo internships, the Ministry of Health and Population in February 2008 had threatened action against hospitals.