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Nepal Doctors Stay Away From Work to Support Colleague

KATHMANDU, (AP): Thousands of doctors in Nepal stayed away from work at clinics and hospitals Wednesday to support a colleague who has been on a hunger strike for 10 days demanding reforms in medical education and services.

More than 5,000 doctors took part in the action and only emergency services were open in hospitals across the Himalayan nation, said Dr. Nirmal Rimal of the Nepal Medical Association.

The strike left most people in Nepal without access to doctors.

The physicians are supporting Dr. Govinda K.C., who is demanding that the government make medical education affordable to more students and medical services available to all citizens.

Only three of Nepal’s 20 medical colleges are run by the government. The private colleges charge huge fees and are unaffordable for the majority of the population.

K.C. is also alleging widespread corruption among officials in granting permits to private medical colleges and is demanding that the officials be dismissed and punished.

The government formed a committee to negotiate with the doctors, but there was no agreement reached to end the strike.

K.C. had gone on a 15-day hunger strike last year for similar demands. He ended the hunger strike and doctors withdrew their protests after the government assured them there would be changes in the country’s medical education system. K.C. now says the government has not done enough.

Hundreds of supporters lined up outside Kathmandu’s Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital, where K.C. is staging his hunger strike, to visit him on Wednesday.

Also, a group of doctors briefly scuffled with police officers while protesting outside the Nepal Medical Council office in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital.

:: Dr. Govinda K.C., who is on a hunger strike, lies on a hospital bed at Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, April 1, 2015. Thousands of doctors in Nepal have stayed away from their work at clinics and hospitals to support the doctor who has been on a hunger strike for the past 10 days demanding reforms in medical education and services. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Published Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 | 07:45 PM

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