Talks between representatives of the government and Dr Govinda KC have remained inconclusive, as Dr KC has stuck to his demand for total implementation of the Mathema Taskforce report and action against the ministers and others found meddling in the health and education sectors.
Dr Govinda Pokharel, chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Reconstruction Authority, is tasked by the government with persuading Dr KC to give up his ongoing hunger strike, and he held discussions with Dr. KC’s representatives for about two hours on Thursday.
“We were unable to make any headway in the talks,” said Dr Jiwan Kshetry, who participated in talks from Dr KC’s side. He informed that they discussed all eight demands put forth by Dr KC.
According to Dr Ksherty, the representatives of Dr KC have reiterated the need for total implementation of the Mathema report and action against the minister for health and population, the minister for education, and the then office-bearers of Tribhuvan University (TU) and the Institute of Medicine (IoM) implicated in the probe.
“The intention of the government seems to be to open affiliations for new medical colleges, which is barred by the Mathema report,” said Dr Ramchandra Sapkota, chairman of the Resident Doctors Association (RAN) at IoM, who also participated in the talks. He informed that Dr Pokharel, who is also vice-chairman at the National Planning commission (NPC), expressed his helplessness in taking action over the ministers. That was something beyond his capacity and could be done only through a political decision, he said.
“We reported to Dr KC on the progress of the negotiations but he refused to accept the government’s proposal,” informed Dr Sapkota. He said that another round of discussions can be held if Dr Pokharel comes with a new mandate.
Dr KC, a senior professor at IoM, wants full implementation of the Mathema report and other past accords regarding reforms in medical education. Doctors attending on him said that his health condition is deteriorating fast. Dr KC has been complaining of body aches, lightness of the head, muscle cramps and chest pain. “Today he is also complaining of confusion,” reads a statement issued Thursday by Dr Dibya Singh, who is monitoring Dr KC’s condition. The report further says that since Wednesday, Dr KC has developed some liver dysfunction as well.
“Continuous fasting may put him at high risk of multiple organ dysfunction and he may need emergency care any time,” the statement further says.
Academic activities at IOM remain disrupted since Monday. Similarly, patients have been deprived of treatment at the TU Teaching Hospital (TUTH) after the resident doctors slashed their services in support of Dr KC’s protest. TUTH faculty doctors even stopped examining new patients since Wednesday. The hospital administration has already postponed scheduled surgeries. Patients from across the country visit TUTH as it is renowned for quality care at affordable rates.
Hundreds of protesting medical students on Thursday took to the streets, expressing their solidarity with Dr KC. The students have organized a torch rally from TUTH to Baluwatar, official residence of the prime minister, chanting slogans to pressure the government to heed Dr KC’s demands. Resident doctors, undergraduate students at IOM and members of the general public participated in the torch rally.