Medical college under Purbanchal University runs into controversy

2017-11-28

Ekantipur

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A decision to allow Koshi Zonal Hospital in Biratnagar to operate as a medical school under the Purbanchal University (PU) has run into controversy.

It is learnt that the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Nepal Medical Council (NMC) were kept in the dark while taking the decision.

Koshi Zonal Hospital was allowed to operate as a medical school under the PU was taken on November 14 through a secretary level decision of the Ministry of Health (MoH), it is learnt.

The MoE and the NMC are the focal points for medical education in Nepal and consultations with these agencies are a must while decisions like these are taken.

Dr Dilip Sharma, registrar of the NMC, confirmed that council was not consulted.

“We are the focal unit for now. The PU should apply at the NMC before any decision on running MBBS programme in any institution is taken,” said Dr Sharma.

Sources at the MoH said the decision was taken following intense pressure from Shekhar Koirala, a senior Nepali Congress leader.

The decision, many believe, is politically motivated and a ploy to woo voters for the second phase of federal parliament and provincial assembly elections. Morang, the district where the Koshi Zonal Hospital lies, is Koirala’s constituency. He is contesting for the federal parliament.

The PU had applied for the consent to make Koshi Zonal Hospital a teaching hospital under it on November 10. In its letter, the PU has stated that it will run its programme in Koshi Zonal Hospital until it builds its own hospital.

What is interesting is MoH decision completely ignores previous agreements reached with the government and the Health Profession Education (HPE) Act. It states that a university should have its own functional hospital for running medical courses including MBBS.

Similarly, as per the HPE Act, a decision to grant affiliation to any institution can be taken as per the recommendation of the to-be-formed HPE Commission only.

Dr Govinda KC, who has been fighting against malpractices in the medical education sector in the country, said the decision to expand medical education to government hospitals is encouraging but such decisions should be taken through the HPE Commission. “A decision to grant affiliation or run any health-related courses should be taken by the HPC Commission,” said Dr KC. “We already have medical schools in Biratnagar. It would have been better if the teaching-learning centre was not centred in a single urban town.

“We have urged the MoH to scrap its decision and focus on formation of the HPC Commission,” he added.

The PU has been lobbying to start medical courses after Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University were asked not to grant affiliation to new medical schools.

Source: The Kathmandu Post, 28th Nov, 2017