Youths perspective on strikes in the health sector
KATHMANDU, Aug 22: Mismanagement and corruption are well spread in all sectors of Nepal, and healthcare is no exception to that.
The recent strike at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) during the third week of August had inconvenienced many patients who were forced to wait in the hospital without proper treatment, or forced to seek help from expensive private health institutions.
Over 2,000 patients are treated at TUTH everyday.
“The strike is definitely not the way. But whenever the nation’s politicians’ demands aren’t met, they resort to bandas and protests, keeping millions at standstill, to achieve what they want,” Sarina Khanal points out.
Bhupendra Sharma also thinks that health institutions should be kept as far away from politics as possible.
“People who become doctors take an oath to cure people of their illness and work for humanity. But these strikes only jeopardize the lives of thousands of patients amongst whom hundreds must be on the brink of death. Where’s humanity in that?” questions Sharma.
Similarily, Bikalpa Kattel says that looking for the advantages by a few against the disadvantages of many don’t make for favorable situations.
“Hospitals should hold talks with the administration or the government about the issues of their dissatisfaction,” Kattel opines.
Doctors are sworn in to save lives after they pass their exams but it doesn’t seem so in Kathmandu. Like Sharma puts it, many people are on the brink of their last breath but no attention is given to them. Perhaps more humane ways should be adopted if such protest programs are planned again in the future.
Talking about the overall healthcare system of Nepal, Khanal says, “The healthcare system needs improvement, needs more innovations, and overall, we need to motivate doctors to come back to Nepal after they finish their graduations abroad.”
She suggests that the government can start by providing security to the doctors, glorifying the opportunity to work in rural parts of Nepal and mandating medical students to work at the grassroots levels.
The sad case of the centralized development of Nepal has forced people in the rural areas to be bereft of access to proper healthcare. Strikes are never the solution to any issue, and who knows this better than the ordinary people themselves? And when it comes to health, the basic fundamental right of people, closure of hospitals, especially the ones more accessible for people from low-income families, is surely not the just way to have demands met.