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Govt flouts deal it reached with Dr KC

  • Starts process to grant affiliation to a medical college in Jhapa
  • Makes mockery of the pact that calls for halting all affiliations
- Manish Gautam, Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu
According to sources, PM Dahal has been involved in expediting the process to grant affiliation to B&C Medical College, which he inaugurated in March last year

Dec 8, 2016-Going beyond the bounds of propriety, the government, which reached a deal with Dr Govinda KC to stop affiliations to new medical schools, has started process to grant affiliation to a medical college based in Jhapa.

The agreement signed by Dr KC and Education Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha on December 4 before the fasting surgeon ended his 10th hunger strike after 22 days categorically calls for halting affiliation to new medical colleges until the Health Profession Education Bill is passed by Parliament.

What has come to the fore shows Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal himself was involved in creating pressure to grant affiliation to B&C Medical College Teaching Hospital and Research Centre based in Jhapa. 

Multiple sources said PM Dahal and the Ministry of Education were putting pressure on Nepal Medical Council (NMC) to write “positive response” about the medical college so that it could get affiliation to run MBBS programme. It is interesting to note that the Ministry of Education had written to the NMC on November 24—on the 12th day of Dr KC’s hunger strike—to assess the present status of B&C Medical College and look into the prospects of the college running MBBS programme at the behest of PM Dahal. The directive to NMC is completely against Dr KC’s demand that all affiliations be put on hold until the Health Profession Education Bill is endorsed. 

In line with the MoE letter, an inspection team formed by the NMC visited the medical college on November 29 and 30. By the time the committee completed its inspection, Dr KC’s fast had entered 18th day. 

The NMC then wrote back to MoE on December 2-on the 20th day of Dr KC’s hunger strike—stating that “based on its preliminary inspection, the proposed B&C Medical College can run MBBS programme”. The Post has obtained the  copy of the letter written to the MoE by the NMC. Dr KC broke his fast on December 4. 

“We were asked by the MoE to assess the present situation of B&C Medical College and update its status,” said Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar of the NMC. “Our committee’s preliminary report showed that the college, in terms of infrastructure, is eligible to run MBBS programme.” Dr Sharma refused to comment further. 

However, multiple sources from the NMC and MoE confirmed that Prime Minister’s Office had been constantly nagging the NMC officials to expedite inspection and come up with a positive response. 

Officials at the MoE told the Post requesting anonymity that they are under pressure from the prime minister to grant affiliation to B&C Medical College. 

The medical college was inaugurated by Dahal in March 2015. 

Now since the college has got the consent from the NMC, it will write to the MoE seeking affiliation. After getting the MoE nod, it will then apply for affiliation from the Institute of Medicine of Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University. 

The universities will then conduct their own independent assessments and if they give approval for affiliation, the NMC will again conduct another round of inspection. If the medical college gets the NMC go-ahead, it can start the process to run MBBS programme.

This is where the nexus between politics and medical college becomes clearer, against which Dr KC has been fighting for long.

According to sources, B&C Medical College, which is employing all its power and political clout, is likely to apply at KU to become part of the varsity’s extended programme. Granting affiliation to this medical college, sources at KU and the MoE say, will be a major bargaining point before the term of incumbent KU Vice-Chancellor Ram Kantha Makaju is extended. 

Makaju will complete his four years as KU VC on December 12. “I am not interested in such deals. And I have no idea regarding affiliation to any new medical school,” said Makaju.

When asked about the behind-the-curtain developments, Dr KC said, “This is really unfortunate that the government is working against its own deal. We will not allow this to happen until a commission is formed. For this I am ready to go on another round of hunger strike.” 

Published: 08-12-2016 08:31

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