KATHMANDU:  After the government failed to take serious measures to bring the Medical Education Act as per the recommendations of the Mathema report, Dr Govinda KC, professor at the Institute of Medicine (IOM), launched his 13th fast-unto-death Thursday. Dr KC has also demanded the sacking of Dr Ramakanth Makaju, vice-chancellor of Kathmandu University, and KU Dean Dr Rajendra Koju, accusing them of involvement with the medical mafia.

Dr KC postponed his 12th hunger strike that started from October 25 in view of the Dashain festival. In this connection he had issued a memorandum to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on September 29.

“I began another hunger strike from 5 pm today as the government is preparing to bring a Medical Education Act that favors the medical mafia,” said Dr KC. “Despite his assurances, PM Deuba has not been working to bring the Act in line with the Mathema report.”

Organizing a press conference at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), Dr KC  put forth a four-point demand and urged the government to fulfill the demands immediately.

The four demands include bringing the integrated Medical Education Act immediately as per the recommendations of the Mathema report; implementing a government fee structure of Rs 3.85 million for the MBBS in Kathmandu Valley and Rs 4.245 million outside the Valley, Rs 1.932 million for BDS and Rs 2.25 million   for MD/MS under Tribhuvan University; the sacking of Rajendra Koju, dean of Kathmandu University, and TU officials who granted affiliation to Kathmandu National Medical College; and revoking TU decisions that snatched away the powers of IOM to grant affiliation to medical colleges and authorise their number of seats.

Similarly, Dr KC’s other demands are  fining Gopal Khadka and probing other  officials of Nepal Oil Corporation involved in corruption after suspending them; allocating a budget immediately for beginning classes at Karnali Academy of Medical and Health Sciences; proceeding with the work to establish government medical colleges at Kailali, Dang, Doti-Dadeldhura, Dhanusha-Mahottari, Udayapur, Panchthar-Terhathum and other places; and promptly addressing the demands of Nepal Medical Association.

Instead of implementing  past agreements, the government is only ready to approve the Medical Education Act bill in  the interest of a limited number of business people and  the medical mafia, said Dr KC. “The bill tabled in  parliament is oriented towards benefitting the mafia rather than the general public and medical students,” he said in his statement. “The three major political parties are involved in work for the mafia.

This has barred  three-fourths of the general public from getting affordable medical care and students from the middle and lower classes from studying medicine.”

The political parties have become hindrances to the opening of government medical colleges in the country and their intention is to create an environment for the investment of black money in  private medical colleges, according to the statement. “This is unacceptable to us,” said Dr KC.

“Meanwhile, officials of Kathmandu University have played an  invidious role in fixing the fee structure millions of rupees above the government ceiling in order to help the medical mafia make money,”  the statement further reads.

A country weighed down by corruption has been suffering from soaring irregularities and the sway of the mafia in  recent years, according to Dr KC. “However, the political parties which are responsible for checking corruption are instead dedicated to promoting impunity. The Commission for  Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has become a mute spectator  while corrupt political leaders and ministers are protecting corrupt officials and taking action against innocent employees  in order to gobble up  state funds.”

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