Thursday, July 10, 2008

In the Kathmandu Valley this week the buses and other forms of transportation are running and the garbage is being collected. We still rolling electricity blackouts but that is an ongoing phenomenon. However, something new is happening that hits very close to home for me: The doctors are on strike at all of the hospitals in the valley.

This would be like all of the Little Rock/Central Arkansas hospitals, clinics and nursing homes shutting down. I can't imagine the chaos. However, unlike Arkansas, many patients in the rural villages do not have access to TV, radio or newspapers, and have travelled a day or more (Forty percent of Nepalis live more than two hours on foot from a motorable road) to Kathmandu for an appointment only to be turned away - they had no way of knowing about the strike.

Here's the story from the Nepali Times:
Kathmandu - Hospitals across Nepal shut down Thursday after doctors expanded their strike to cover the entire nation to protest against assaults and threats against them. The Nepal Medical Association, a doctors' umbrella organization, said hundreds of hospitals as well as thousands of private clinics and nursing homes had heeded its calls to shut down, leaving only emergency services open.

"We decided to extend the strike as the government failed to take our demands for increased security of doctors and hospitals seriously," the Nepal Medical Association said. "The strike will continue until our demands are met and those responsible for assault on doctors and vandalism of hospitals are brought to justice," the association said.

The doctors initially called for a strike in the The doctors initially called for a strike in the Nepalese capital on Wednesday and met with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to express their grievances. The strike affected hundreds of thousands of people seeking medical treatment in both government and private hospitals. Many people unaware of the strike were turned away from the hospitals.

The strike followed an incident earlier this week where the family of a patient who died after kidney surgery vandalized the hospital where he was being treated and attacked doctors.
The doctors said there was a growing tendency by people to vent their anger on doctors and hospitals if family members died during treatment.

They rejected accusations of negligence.


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