Nepal Medical Association (NMA), supporting the week long hunger strike of Dr. Govinda KC, has warned the government to shut down all hospital services including emergency services from Sunday. At a press meet organized on Friday, Chairman of NMA, Anjanai Kumar Jha, put ahead NMA’s five-point and Dr. KC’s seven-point demand against the scandalous appointment of Dr. Sashi Sharma as a new Dean of Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine (TUIoM). NMA has given a 24 hours ultimatum to fulfill their demands, along with asking for the resignation of Health Minister Madhav Poudel.
The controversial appointment of Dr. Sharma as a new IoM Dean has been gaining serious concern from various sectors after Prof. Dr. Govinda KC started his fast unto death hunger strike since last Saturday. Dr. KC, dissatisfied with contentious decision of Tribhuvan University Executive Council to appoint Dr. Sharma as a new Dean of IoM, started the hunger strike at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) premises, despite of deterrence from police.
On Tuesday, IoM students, assisting Dr. KC’s strike, gave a note to Khil Raj Regmi, Chairman of Interim Government, in order to draw his attention into the matter. Also, On Thursday, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urged the government to meet Dr. KC’s demand and save his life, as the health condition of Dr. KC was deteriorating and was in critical condition due to his continued hunger strike.
Amidst the upheaval, NMA has asked all the doctors working outside Kathmandu Valley to come and join the association so as to draw attention of and make pressure upon the concerned authorities to meet Dr. KC’s demand. NMA Chairman, Jha has also indicted that the Cabinet and Regmi himself were incidentally involved in the clash. On the other side, newly appointed Dean of IoM, Dr. Sharma, is reluctant to resign from the post, asserting that he was appointed to the post as per legal process. Rather, he had asked Dr. KC to halt his hunger strike and come for further dialogues.
Besides, a writ has been listed at the Supreme Court yesterday, asking for continuation of services at TUTH, which has been stopped since 13th January by the hospital staffs supporting the hunger strike. Advocate Sunil Ranjan Singh and Consumer Rights Protection Forum have jointly filed the writ saying that the strike at TUTH is against the Emergency Service Act 1957, which has deprived people from essential health services. The solicitors have asked for an interim directive to resume all the hospital services within an hour, after the issuance of such order from the Supreme Court.