While speaking about humanitarian reforms, non-violent protests, uncompromising fasts against the malfunctioning of government bodies and stakeholders in Nepal, the very first name that comes to one’s mind is none other than Govinda KC.
Professionally, Govinda is a renowned orthopedic surgeon and a professor. Whereas in personal life, he is a philanthropist and a social activist.
Govinda is well-known globally for his firm stand towards reforms in the Nepali medical sector and favoring the government medical institutions, notably the state-owned Institute of Medicine (IoM) and Patan Academy of Health Sciences.
A Series of Hunger Strikes and Key Addressed Demands
Voicing against transparency and political meddling in unrelated matters among others, Govinda has staged 10 hunger strikes in five years between 2012 and 2016, with eight of them being fasts-unto-death. He recently staged the eleventh one.
All his protests were against rampant commercialization of medical sector and providing quality healthcare to Nepalese.
Some of the prominent demands raised and addressed by Govinda’s hunger strikes include end of political interference, appointment of Dean in IoM, suspension of various officials of Tribhuvan University, suspension of the parliamentary committee directive on granting affiliation to new colleges, implementation of the Medical Education Association’s recommendations, protest against Kathmandu University officials for their violation of cabinet decisions, establishment of medical colleges in rural areas, education at free-of-cost/ nominal fee in medical, nursing & paramedical colleges and impeachment of CIAA Chief Lokman Singh Karki.
Govinda’s activities received a mass following from all sections of the society, especially the youth.
The most notable achievement is the recent agreement between Govinda and the Government of Nepal, which is a result of his eight fast-unto-death. Accepting Govinda’s demand, the government agreed to open at least one medical college in each of the (future) federal provinces. The agreement also has a 10-year moratorium on the construction of new medical colleges inside the Kathmandu Valley.
In 2015, the Government of Nepal has entered into a 11-point agreement with Govinda, which underlines:
- Formation of the Health Professional Education Commission to oversee and regulate medical education
- The fee ceiling for MBBS & MD/MS education to be set at Rs 3.5 million & 2.3 million, respectively, which will be revived in every three years
- Formation of a new authority to probe issues in Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University
As a Humanitarian
Govinda did his part as a responsible being with his humanitarian activities, by offering services to public in times of natural calamities, across Nepal and globally. During the process, he never sought financial assistance from any government or NGO and financed his own way. He preferred to spend his salary for the services across remote areas of Nepal.
Govinda spends two weeks of vacation, provided to him by TUTH annually, in travelling to remotest villages of Nepal to serve and conduct health awareness camps. Some of his well-known international visits include a three-week stay in Bhuj region of Gujarat, India post-earthquake, a 20-day stay in Northwest Pakistan to serve quake victims, and a two-week stay in Myanmar to help cyclone victims, among many others.
Govinda KC was born on March 25, 1957 in Ramechhap, Janakpur Zone of Nepal. He studied at IoM to become a Health Assistant at the institute. With the support of the Ministry of Education’s scholarship, he went on to pursue MBBS course at Rajshahi Medical College, Bangladesh, after which, he returned to Nepal and served in Bir Hospital. He then moved to Dhaka University to pursue M.S and finally became an orthopedic surgeon.
Govinda’s life took a turn at IoM after he joined the institute as a volunteer in 1994, leaving Bir Hospital. He eventually grew to become a professor specialized in child orthopedics, and the institute became a big platform for his future course of action.
Dedicated to Social Service
Govinda KC (60) is still a bachelor and lives within the hospital quarters. He has dedicated his life to students, patients and social activities. There is a growing consensus in Nepal over the nomination of Govinda for the Nobel Peace Prize Award.
Through his activities, Govinda transformed the lives of millions of Nepalese and became a ray of hope for those in need and proper support.
Transparency International Nepal honored Dr. Govinda KC with the National Integrity Award, at an event held in Kathmandu on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day.