Nepal doc­tors stay away from work to back their col­league

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Thou­sands of doc­tors in Nepal stayed away from work at clin­ics and hos­pi­tals on Wed­nes­day to sup­port a col­league who has been on a hunger strike for 10 days de­mand­ing re­forms in med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and ser­vices.

More than 5,000 doc­tors took part in the ac­tion and only emer­gency ser­vices were open in hos­pi­tals across the Hi­malayan na­tion, said Dr. Nir­mal Ri­mal of the Nepal Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

The strike left most peo­ple in Nepal with­out ac­cess to doc­tors.

The physi­cians are sup­port­ing Dr. Govinda K.C., who is de­mand­ing that the gov­ern­ment make med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion af­ford­able to more stu­dents and med­i­cal ser­vices avail­able to all cit­i­zens.

Only three of Nepal’s 20 medi- cal col­leges are run by the gov­ern­ment. The pri­vate col­leges charge huge fees and are un­af­ford­able for the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion.

K.C. is also al­leg­ing wide­spread cor­rup­tion among of­fi­cials in grant­ing per­mits to pri­vate med­i­cal col­leges and is de­mand­ing that the of­fi­cials be dis­missed and pun­ished.

The gov­ern­ment formed a com­mit­tee to ne­go­ti­ate with the doc­tors, but there was no agree­ment reached to end the strike.

K.C. had gone on a 15-day hunger strike last year for sim­i­lar de­mands. He ended the hunger strike and doc­tors with­drew their protests af­ter the gov­ern­ment as­sured them there would be changes in the coun­try’s med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. K.C. now says the gov­ern­ment has not done enough.

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