Lifting a ban more than ten years old, the Medical Education Commission decided to allow Nepalese medical students from foreign universities to do internships in Nepal. Nepalese students at Chinese universities stand to benefit from this decision.
Dozens of Nepalese students, who completed their MBBS studies in China but were unable to do their internships, had staged protests demanding that they be allowed to follow post-study practice in their home countries.
The commission gave the students concerned 12 days from Thursday to apply for internships. All students, who have completed their MBBS studies by April 2020, are eligible for an internship. “The ban was lifted once to address the concerns of students who were unable to complete their internships due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Semant Koirala, deputy secretary of the committee, told the Post. MBBS students, after completing their five years of study, are required to complete one year of supervised practice in hospitals before graduation.
It is estimated that 200 students, mostly from various Chinese universities and colleges, did not graduate despite graduating in 2019 due to lack of internship opportunities. According to the education councils that make it easier for students to study MBBS abroad, students in 2015 and earlier graduates will benefit from the committee’s decision. Milan Gyawali, managing director of Speed International Education Consultancy, said that MBBS students from various Chinese universities and colleges, who were doing their internships, had to return home in February and March of last year without completing the training in due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, they could not graduate.
“Although their Chinese universities last year gave their students permission to do internships in Nepal itself, the students were unable to undertake internships due to a long-standing ban and lost a year.” Gyawali told the Post. “Students who have completed their MBBS studies this year should also be allowed to do internships in Nepal,” he demanded.
The students, who joined MBBS in 2016, completed their five years of study earlier this year.
Various countries, including China, did not allow Nepalese students to return home after being sent home during a pandemic break in early 2020. But these students continued their studies online.
Students who had not been able to start their internship previously said they lost an entire year due to the delay the commission took in lifting the ban. “I had already completed a seven-month internship when the pandemic forced me to return home last year,” Shrestha, an MBBS student at Dali University in China, told Post Era. “I would have graduated already if the commission had made the decision on time.” Shrestha applied for an internship at Bir hospital on Thursday same.
Commission officials say they have no information whether medical students from countries other than China have also faced a similar problem. “We will only be able to say after July 20, the deadline for submitting the internship form, if there are also students from other countries,” Koirala said.
China was the preferred destination for Nepalese students to study medicine before the government decided to ban Nepalese students studying abroad from doing internships in Nepal. Now most of the students go to Bangladesh for MBBS studies.
The Council introduced the ban in May 2007. The Council stated that students who did not complete their internships in the countries where they studied, would not be allowed to apply for a license to practice medicine in Nepal. After finding that hospitals were ignoring the ban and still allowing foreign students to do internships, the Ministry of Health and Population threatened in February 2008 to take action against the hospitals.