Nepal’s National Assembly on Thursday passed, without amendment, a controversial bill that will regulate medical education in the country once it receives presidential assent.
The legislation was pushed through parliament even as opposition members and medical professionals across the country protested. Orthopedic surgeon Govinda KC is leading a movement against the bill and is on his 16th hunger strike demanding medical education reforms. According to the medical veteran, the legislation does not accommodate demands that the government had conceded to in an earlier agreement with him.
Protestors are demanding access to better health care services for the underprivileged and view the bill as a move to benefit private medical colleges and hospitals in the country. Activists in Nepal have long called for greater statutory restrictions on mushrooming private medical colleges because of a perceived lack of quality control and exorbitant tuition fees. Other demands include a moratorium on university affiliations given to private medical colleges in Kathmandu and the establishment of government-funded medical colleges in each province.