KATHMANDU, June 24: Agitating doctors at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) have agreed to halt their protest after Tribhuvan University (TU) Vice-chancellor (VC) Hira Bahadur Maharjan agreed to sack Dean of Institute of Medicine Dr Arun Sayami by Monday afternoon.
The doctors, demanding merit-based recruitment in the vacant posts at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and action against IOM officials implicated in several irregularities, reached an agreement to wait till 2 pm Monday for Dr Sayami´s dismissal and appointment of a temporary successor following a marathon meeting of TU officials, including VC Maharjan, that started at around 4:30 in the afternoon at IOM and ended after 9:30 in the night.
"VC Maharjan asked us to withdraw the strike promising to appoint a new dean by July 4. But Dr YP Singh proposed that Dr Sayami be immediately sacked," senior professor Dr Govinda KC told Republica.
The doctors first halted extended paying services offered at the hospital in the afternoon from Monday and then stopped even the cheaper afternoon services from Friday affecting hundreds of patients.
The doctors were scheduled to halt all services, except emergency, from Monday while Dr KC had announced a fast unto death if the demands were not met. "We will halt all the services, except emergency, and I will start the fast if we do not receive a letter from TU regarding dismissal of Dr Sayami," Dr KC added.
VC Maharjan said that he has agreed to take the doctors´ proposal of sacking Dr Sayami to the executive body of TU early Monday.
TU had formed a search committee to select three merit-based candidates for the post of dean after Dr KC started a fast unto death on May 14.
The search committee, that was given three-week mandate, wrote to VC Maharjan on June 1 seeking term extension after failing to complete its work. But VC Maharjan has yet to extend the committee´s deadline.
Six top positions at IOM, including that of dean, have remained vacant for the past eight months. The doctors have also been demanding action against IOM officials, including Dr Sayami, who have been implicated in several irregularities by the Jayaram Giri-led committee formed after the 17-day TUTH strike in March 2010.
TUTH closure worries various organizations
Various organizations have expressed grave concern over the decision of different associations, including the doctor teachers´ association within the TU Teaching Hospital, to close down hospital services.
Chairman of Nepal National University Teachers´ Organization, Dr Suresh Banstola said the discussion of different organizations concluded that it was quite worrying to take sudden decision to close down health services including the outpatients department of the Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj.
It is the inherent right of citizens to get health service, the discussion concluded, urging the agitating sides in the Hospital to abide by the Supreme Court order to not close down hospital which is related to the sensitive aspect of life- health.
However, the agitating committees and associations within the hospital have closed down the OPD services, extension hospital service and teachings with the demand of having the officials including dean be appointed immediately.