KC and cause
Professor Dr. Govinda KC is a familiar name among Nepali citizens who truly believe in health sector reform. Known for his professional integrity and audacity, he has sparked a ray of hope among the general people about the possibility of getting improved access and quality health services in their own backyard.
Love for humanity
Travelling to the remote nook and crany of Nepal and abroad to help the victims of war and disaster, Dr. KC has demonstrated his love for humanity. One of the rarest individuals to consistently work for the common welfare in today’s self-centred world, he is an epitome of optimism and sacrifice in an emerging chaotic and ruthless society.
However, it is unfortunate that a man of such wise intention has to sit for another round of indefinite hunger strike simply because the state backtracks from implementing commitments made in the past. Whether it’s a matter of initiating reform based on the spirit of the Mathema Commission report or the process of operationalising agreements reached in the past, the state has shown its sheer reluctance, putting the country’s medical education in a limbo, further aggravating the quality of the health system.
With a 4-point demand, the 8th round of protest is ongoing at the Teaching Hospital. Except the point against the CIIA chief, the rest of the demands are significant which include amending the draft of the Medical Education Act that include free seats in the government medical colleges and setting up at least one medical college in each of the provinces.
The adamant doctor is asking nothing but the overhauling of medical education to ensure that the children of every citizen aren’t deprived of opportunities to pursue a career in medicine if they are really talented and hardworking. Living in a society where people mostly don’t believe in change, this doctor is continuously working towards his goal of making our health and medical system accessible to the poor and helpless people. And he is undeterred. Amid this scenario, it is beyond the understanding of this author how this is not a genuine cause. Alleging a man of such honesty and character with irrational thought is condemnable.
The noble campaign of Dr. KC has witnessed overwhelming support from people of different walks of life although there is a section of people who is vehemently criticising this move. ‘#I am with Dr. K.C#’ is a popular trending on the social networking sites. Interestingly, at the forefront of the supporters are a bunch of optimistic young doctors and other professionals who believe in equity and justice based on improved access to health.
Needless to say, this voice is an aspiration of every common citizen who wish to live a happy and healthy live. Nevertheless, there are critics, mainly medical middlemen and public officials including policy makers, whose high-handedness has been threatened by the ongoing movement of revamping the entire health system. In a society where nepotism and corruption have thrived immensely, it is very natural to have such opposing voices from those who are only interested in expanding their sphere of influence in every possible way.
Compared to other protests, Dr. KC’s agitation is strikingly different as it puts the public concern at the centre. While we have witnessed demonstrations of various kinds in this country for fulfilling partisan interests, hardly have we come across a movement of this type. Moreover, the campaign is getting stronger day by day with increasing public support.
At this juncture, it is important to discuss what lessons our society can learn from a true leader like Dr. KC. Perhaps the most significant insight on offer is that even a single person can make a huge difference if s/he perseveres no matter how adverse the circumstance is. Equally crucial is the lesson on professional integrity that we can obtain observing his life style. Likewise, every professional can be motivated to work for inducing positive reform in their particular sector be it education, administration or others.
Addressing his demands requires the state to start translating the promises into action. But the political fraternity is engaged only in the power game and is least bothered about the issue, putting the valuable life of this medical surgeon in peril. While human rights activists and other civil society organisations have expressed solidarity in his movement, only one or two political leaders have publicly done so. In fact, the policymakers have hesitated to lend their support, fearing the loss of their power for becoming radicalist.
Thus, it’s high time that the state realised the gravity of the problem. Otherwise, it’s going to be too late for the state to withstand the growing public pressure to reengineer the medical system for the formation of a just and equitable society. It’s only a matter of time. With a leader of such authenticity, the state must bow down. Is anyone listening?