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Nepal’s agitating doctors resume services staying outside hospitals

KATHMANDU: Doctors working in government-run health facilities, who have been halting their services-except for emergency cases-for the last six days, resumed their work on Wednesday.

Asking the government to correct a provision of the Civil Service Adjustment Act which keeps them under the jurisdiction of the local levels, the government doctors were halting all health services since Friday.
The ongoing strike was called by the Government Doctor’s Association of Nepal (GODAN).
The doctors resumed their work in response to mounting pressure from the general public. The agitating doctors provided health services to the patients staying outside of the hospital buildings.
The protest of the doctors has drawn flaks from public stating that it violated the citizens’ rights to health.
The administration of the National Academy of Medical Sciences in Bir Hospital with the help of Nepal Police reopened its health facilities today.
The hospital resumed its OPD ticketing system after the police provided security.
However, instead of using OPD tickets, the government doctors used the letter pad of GODAN and provided health care to the patients staying outside of the hospital building.
Director of the Bir Hospital Dr. Kedar Senchuri said the service resumed in the hospital from Wednesday.
“The hospital will not be able to resume its entire health services unless the demands of the agitating doctors are met. But no patient will remain deprived of the health facilities,” he said.
According to Dr. Senchuri, on Wednesday alone 405 patients received health care services through OPD tickets.
Chairman of GODAN Dr. Dipendra Pandey said expects for those buying the OPD tickets, 700 patients received health facilities from Bir Hospital and Trauma Centre on Wednesday.
The doctors serving in the state-run hospitals have been demanding amendment to the provision of the act that puts them under the jurisdiction of local level because they wanted to remain under the federal government.
They claimed that current provision of the Act would hamper their professional growth, as they were not allowed to work under the federal government.
The GODAN has further demanded for the equal mobilization of the government doctors in all states of the country, said Dr. Pandey.
The agitating doctors said they wanted the government to address their genuine demands.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Dr. Puspa Chaudhary said the government would hold dialogues with the agitating doctors only if they withdrew their protest.
The doctors need to be highly sensitive to deliver health services without any obstruction, said Dr. Chaudhary.
She asked the agitating doctors to call off the protest as it might put thousands of lives at risk. Dr. Chaudhary said the Council of Ministers had also discussed the demands put forth by the doctors.
As the demands of the agitating doctors were political one, the Ministry could do nothing on them, she added.
General Secretary of the Nepal Medical Association Dr. Lochan Karki said since the demands of the government doctors were genuine, the government must address them.

(A crowd of patients and their relatives seen at Lumbini State Hospital in Butwal on Tuesday. Photo: Ghanashyam Gautam)

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