CPN-UML in bid to bend the rulesIn a move that constitutes a clear conflict of interest, the CPN-UML-led government is on the verge of authorising a hospital managed by its members to not just run MBBS classes but also to operate it as an autonomous academy.
In a move that constitutes a clear conflict of interest, the CPN-UML-led government is on the verge of authorising a hospital managed by its members to not just run MBBS classes but also to operate it as an autonomous academy.
The Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS), which currently operates a hospital and nursing colleges, has been repeatedly denied affiliation to run MBBS classes by the Institute of Medicine under Tribhuvan University, on the grounds that there are already too many medical colleges in the Valley. But the UML-led government has found a way to circumvent the process to allow the institute to run MBBS classes.
Health Minister Ram Janam Chaudhary on Monday tabled the Manmohan Adhikari Academy of Health Sciences-2015 bill.
The bill once endorsed will prepare legal ground for the institute to run MBBS classes. For its endorsement, the bill has to go through discussions in a parliamentary committee. The institute, whose major shares are controlled by UML members, is chaired by Rajendra Pandey, a UML parliamentarian.
“This clearly constitutes a conflict of interest,” said Kedar Bhakta Mathema, who chaired a commission that was formed to draft the Health Profession Education Policy. “Kathmandu does not need any more medical colleges. If the government is earnest to provide better public health services, medical colleges should be established outside the Valley.”
When asked, Minister Chaudhary declined to comment. But a senior Health Ministry official said there was “intense pressure” from the prime minister’s party to table the bill.
The Mathema-led commission, which was formed by the Sushil Koirala government in the wake of a series of fast-unto-death by Dr Govinda KC demanding reforms in the medical education sector, has recommended against establishing more medical colleges for next 10 years inside the Kathmandu Valley.
It has also asked the government to stop granting Letter of Intent, a prerequisite to establish medical colleges, while halting its renewal.
In case of colleges like MMIHS that has built infrastructure, the commission report has asked the government to take it over or help them to relocate to other places.
MMIHS had been constantly flexing muscles for getting approval to run the MBBS programme, only to be denied by the IoM.
The IoM has stated that it does not have the capacity to handle more medical colleges in Kathmandu.
When contacted, Pandey told the Post that the government has done the right job by initiating a process to run medical colleges that commemorates its visionary leader Manmohan Adhikari.
“There is no point in not letting MMIHS run the college. We have already invested enough and will start operation right after the bill is endorsed,” said Pandey.
If the government endorses the bill, along with MMIHS, there will be eight medical colleges in the Valley.