Medical colleges desperately awaiting affiliation to run MBBS programmes inside Kathmandu Valley will not be granted permission to operate until they agree to “move out of the Valley”, a new draft policy states. If they wish to, they could “hand over” their property to the government.
The Health Profession Education Policy submitted to the PM on Monday says “institutes that have taken Letter of Intent (LoI) and that meet the standards can hand over their property, if they so wish, to the government which will have to compensate them”.
The policy drafted by a high-level committee led by former TU Vice-chancellor Kedar Bhakta Mathema also states that the LoIs taken by various institutes will not be renewed while the Education Ministry should not provide new LoIs until further notice. The LoI is mandatory for establishing a medical college. More than 15 LoIs have been issued so far. If the colleges want to relocate themselves, committee members say the government can help them with tax rebate in equipment and also leasing land to build infrastructure outside the Capital.
“If the colleges wish to run other health programmes in the property or do something new with it, it’s their right,” said another member of the committee. “But we don’t need any more medical colleges in the Capital. The people outside also have equal right to access better healthcare,” said the member.
The policy recommendation is likely to draw ire from several political leaders and cadres who have invested in medical schools in the Valley. Such colleges desperately waiting for affiliation include Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences—chaired by CPN-UML lawmaker Rajendra Pandey, National Medical College—an extension of the Birgunj-based National Medical College promoted by UCPN (Maoist) loyalist Basaruddhin Ansari, and People’s Dental College—run by Sunil Sharma who has support from the Maoists and the Nepali Congress. Besides, Nepal Police had also been using its clout to seek affiliation.
Among others, Pandey has been vociferously seeking affiliation so much so that he threatened to disrupt Parliament if affiliation is not granted. Ansari had moved the court which had directed the Institute of Medicine to “sort the issue as soon as possible”. The IoM faculty board had denied new affiliations.
The policy stresses that no medical college should now be opened inside the Valley. The government should promote new medical schools outside the Capital in “small towns and new settlements”.
Meanwhile, Dr Govinda KC, who fought hard for the policy, has urged the government to make the report public. “The full report has to be released immediately for public debate,” he said.