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Govinda KC

Nepal
Govinda K.C. is a Nepalese orthopedic surgeon and philanthropic activist. He is professor of orthopedics at the Tribhuvan Univeristy Teaching Hospital, part of the Institute of Medicine in Nepal. He is known for humanitarian work in Nepal and internationally, and for his activism in favor of independent academic functioning of the government medical institutions in Nepal, notably the Institute of Medicine and Patan Academy of Health Sciences. His non-violent protests and fasts have successfully pressurized the government and stakeholders.

Beginning as a volunteer, he has eventually become a professor specializing in child orthopedics. He spends all of his time in the government hospital and, except for a year to help a friend, has never had private practice. He serves the poor people who throng his clinics, getting as many as possible to the free academic beds which are allocated to each Professor and Unit Chief.

K.C. has preferred to use his salary to provide services in remote areas in Nepal, and has also traveled internationally in response to natural calamities. He has not taken funds from any non-governmental organization (NGO) or international NGO to provide these services. Apart from the earthquake in Nepal, he has financed his own way on these Nepalese and international humanitarian services.

TUTH offers K.C. a few weeks of vacation every year. He goes to the most rural clinics of Nepal, far from public transportation, often traveling there on foot. He trains health workers in rural Nepal to identify orthopedic emergencies, to provide emergency treatment and if necessary provide timely referrals. He organizes health camps in remote places. He gives medications to these people and makes necessary arrangements to give free medical treatment when they come for further treatment in Kathmandu. He has faced allegations of being a spy or an insurgent when he worked during the Maoists insurgency. The rural districts of Nepal had an outbreak of cholera some years ago. Many doctors refused to go there, even if paid. K.C. carried medicine on his back to provide humanitarian aid.

K.C. has traveled extensively to assist victims of natural disasters. In 2001, he spent three weeks in the Bhuj region in Gujarat, India after the earthquake. In 2005, he served in Northwest Pakistan for around 20 days after a disastrous earthquake. After a cyclone in Myanmar in 2008, the government of Myanmar prevented foreign aid agencies from entering the country, but admitted him for two weeks. In 2010, he went to Haiti in the wake of the disastrous earthquake and served for three weeks. In 2011, he served flood victims in Pakistan for two weeks. In 2013, he went to the Philippines to treat people affected by the tsunami.

KC has been a prominent campaigner for medical sector reform in response to public allegations of both corruption and of undue political pressure to give medical college affiliation to facilities with inadequate infrastructures. His ongoing advocacy over several years has included several lengthy personal fasts, which have received extensive press coverage, and which have successfully pressurized the authorities toward making some changes.

In January 2014, K.C. launched another fast unto death, campaigning against the political appointment of a new dean of IoM, which did not reflect seniority, as well as several other grievances. Supporting this cause, the medical association of Nepal shut down hospitals, except the emergency services, across the country.The Nepal Medical Association called for mass resignation of doctors across the country and almost a hundred doctors and professors resigned. The doctors announced free medical camps at public places. These collective actions appear to have been successful, so K.C. broke his fast. KC has been a prominent campaigner for medical sector reform in response to public allegations of both corruption and of undue political pressure to give medical college affiliation to facilities with inadequate infrastructures. His ongoing advocacy over several years has included several lengthy personal fasts, which have received extensive press coverage, and which have successfully pressurized the authorities toward making some changes.

 
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