Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has directed Minister for Education Dhaniram Poudel to put the affiliation process of medical colleges on hold until a bill on medical education reform is endorsed by Parliament.
PM Dahal’s instruction to this effect comes days after Dr Govinda KC, who has been campaigning for reforms in the medical education sector, warned of staging another hunger strike.
PM Dahal has also pledged necessary amendments to the Health Professional Education Commission (HPEC) Bill, an overarching framework that aims to regulate affiliations and assure quality of medical education in the country.
The commission was proposed by a committee chaired by Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice chancellor of Tribhuvan University. The Mathema-led committee had earlier drafted the Health Profession Education Policy (HPEP).
The HPEP and proposed HPEC Act call for a 10-year moratorium on establishing new medical schools in Kathmandu Valley.
During a meeting with civil society members, including Mathema, Nilamber Acharya, Leela Mani Paudyal and Ramesh Kanta Adhikari, on Tuesday, PM Dahal also said that the government would soon withdraw the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences (MMIHS) Bill, which aims to give the institute the status of an autonomous academy. Withdrawing the MMIHS Bill is one of the demands of Dr KC.
Health Minister Gagan Thapa, who was present in the meeting, said, “The government is serious about addressing Dr KC’s demands. The process to acquire MMIHS for the National Academy of Health Sciences has already been started.”
Mathema, who had prepared the meticulous report recommending the government immediate measures for reforms in the medical education sector, said, “We drew the prime minister’s attention to the country’s medical education sector. He was positive about the issues raised by us.”
Source: This article was originally published in The Kathmandu Post, on 14th Sept, 2014.