Nepal’s new law can jail anyone attacking health workers up to 4 years

Kathmandu, June 3

The government is preparing to issue a new ordinance to address concerns about the safety of on-duty health workers as it frequently reports incidents of attacks on doctors and nurses accusing them of negligence in treatment.

The draft of the ordinance has a provision that anyone attacking an on-duty health worker can be jailed for up to four years or fined up to Rs 200,000 or both jailed and fined.

The same provisions have been proposed for people padlocking, picketing or vandalising a health institution.

Man Bahadur Basnet, an undersecretary of the law section in the Ministry of Health, says the ministry has already submitted the final draft to the legislative committee in the Council of Ministers. It will be tabled in the next cabinet meeting for endorsement, according to him.

It has been learned that the new law will also address the health workers’ demand for jail without bail in cases of attacks on them. However, several conditions will be set to disallow bail.

The existing Security of the Health Workers and Health Organisations Act also bans attacks on health workers and institutions. However, its provisions are apparently insufficient, according to officials.

Therefore, the government is preparing to issue the ordinance to amend the act.

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Budhathoki is a journalist who worked with Onlinekhabar until November 2021, covering health and social affairs.

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