The RW received the following article
from Dipak Sapkota, a correspondent for Janadesh
Weekly, a pro-Maoist weekly newspaper in Nepal.
In the second week of November, the "Medical
In-Charge" of the 17th Battalion of the People’s Liberation
Army, Nepal Comrade Sunil, and his team operated on the
tumor of Prem Karki, a civilian in Udayapur, in the mid-eastern
countryside of Nepal. Mr. Karki was able to walk within
a few hours after the three-member medical team, having
limited surgical instruments, successfully finished the
operation in Karki’s home. Mr. Karki is grateful for
the medical team of the People’s Liberation Army for
treating him free of cost. He had this medical problem for
seven years but was not able to afford the expensive charges
in the hospitals in the cities. The Medical In-Charge, Comrade
Sunil, says his team had succeeded in doing a similar operation
on one of the colleagues.
In the course of the People’s War
in Nepal, medicine and health care is one of the main things
that has been developed. This has meant developing the ability
to do operations in the field of war and the successful
running of model hospitals in the base areas. Now, fighters,
organizers, families of martyrs, sympathizers and the people
of the countryside do not have to rely on the expensive
hospitals in the cities for common problems as well as for
common and medium type operations.
The 17th Battalion’s Medical In-Charge
Comrade Sunil gives details about the aforementioned case
they had succeeded on in the second week of November. He
says, "The 250 gm tumor was in the right chest of the patient
for seven years and it had nearly touched the right lung.
I with my colleague Comrade Gagan and Comrade Kopila cut
the tumor out. We did it for free." He informs us that they
use the houses of the people as they don’t have special
treatment or operation rooms. They treat patients with their
limited instruments and medicines. He says that he has been
involved in more than one dozen raids on police posts and
army barracks and has treated his injured colleagues in
the course of ongoing battles.
Starting from a zero level in the initial
period of the People’s War, the medical sector has
now accomplished the establishment of model hospitals which
are running successfully. One of these model hospitals,
the one in eastern command (there are eastern, central and
western commands) was established in January 2004. The Medical
In-Charge of this model hospital, Comrade Himesh, says that
they treat party cadres, fighters, organizers, family of
martyrs, sympathizers and the people of the countryside
for free of cost. He also informs that they have treated
more than 10,000 party cadres in a 10-month period. This
mobile type of model hospital, situated in the special district
of the eastern command, not only deals with normal cases
but with common operations. Four medical personnel are fully
active in this hospital. This shows how the Communist Party
of Nepal (Maoist), along with other factors of governing,
has given emphasis to providing medical care. Comrade Himesh
also informs us that their routines cover the running of
medical treatment camps in different villages, training
medical practitioners, running medical classes for party
cadre and local people, and the treatment of party cadres
We are now running mobile type of hospital
We interviewed Comrade Himesh, the
Medical In-Charge of a model hospital under eastern command.
Q. Why do you call this a model hospital?
I have been the Medical In-Charge ever
since the establishment of this hospital. As most doctors
in Nepal are centralized in the cities and expensive hospitals,
our party, the CPN (Maoist), developed a plan to establish
model hospitals. We are on the battlefield, so this is a
mobile type of hospital. The party has planned to make it
permanent in the future. So now it is called a model hospital.
We treat injured party cadres and people with limited instruments
and medicines. And we use the houses of the people for treatment
and operation rooms.
Q. When was this established and how
many patients have you treated up to now?
This was established in January 2004. There
are four medical activists working in this hospital full
time. Up to now we have treated more than 10,000 patients.
That includes party cadres, People’s Liberation Army
Q. What kind of cases do you deal with
in the course of battle? And what do you do if you cannot
treat them in your hospital?
Often, the cases we deal with in the course
of battles are to take out bullets, take out parts of bombs,
grenades and bullets that have been in the body, dealing
with cuts, stopping bleeding, injections for different purposes,
to decrease the pain of injured patients, dressing of wounds
and all sort of other problems. In the course of treating
people we even do small and average operations. If we are
not able to treat some specific problem, we have no way
than to refer them to bigger hospitals in the cities.
Q. There have been articles in the
news about your medical camps. Do you provide medical care
only for Party people or for the common people also?
We obviously treat common people when we
set up medical camps. The base of the People’s War
is the people. We check up on the common people and distribute
medicines as per our capacity. We also run special medical
camps after some specific battles for those in the People’s
Liberation Army who have been injured. And we also run these
sort of camps for training medical practitioners.
Q. How do you coordinate medical treatments
in the course of encounters and raids?
We are there in the raids being carried
out by the People’s Liberation Army. We mostly move
with the formations with the PLA. Encounters happen suddenly,
so we cannot plan everything, but we promptly treat people
as much as we can. In small and decentralized actions, at
least one medical activist is enough. In bigger centralized
actions we gather more medical activists and more medicine.
But in the highest centralized actions we mobilize a formation
of medical activists. We gather a lot of medicine and medical
instruments. We make special plans for it with a lot of
medical posts during these actions.
Most of these medical activists are members
of the People’s Liberation Army, and they also handle
different other posts. For instance, the Medical In-Charge
of the eastern division of the PLA, Comrade Nabin, also
holds the post of company vice-commissars and is a member
of the sub-zonal military committee. He says that they not
only treat injured colleagues but go to fight in assaults
if they are needed. As the medical activists carry medicines
and instruments with them, if anybody needs treatment, they
are ready for it. Beside that, they set up the special management
of medical facilities for political and military training.
Comrade Nabin says there are two medical activists in every
platoon of the PLA, three in each Company and every level
of Headquarters has a medical team. The CPN (Maoist) have
declared that the strength of the People’s Liberation
Army is now 9 Brigades and 29 Battalions. So, we can calculate
that there are more than 1,000 medical activists in the
People’s War, including those in the formations of
the PLA, those in different headquarters of the PLA, in
different model hospitals and organizing committees. Comrade
Nabin tells us that dozens of these kinds of medical activists
have been killed by the Royal Army and the police.
With the large participation of women in
the PLA and in other organizations, a lot of females are
active in the medical field as well. These female medical
activists even hold the post of In-Charge in different departments
of the PLA, organizations and in local states. Comrade Nishana,
the Medical In-Charge of the 6th Brigade of the PLA, is
one of these women leaders. She says she feels pleasure
in treating injured comrades and thinks that a medical activist
should be a good planner, an intelligent teacher, a visionary
leader and an expert fighter.
Most of the medical activists in the People’s
War have not finished their doctorate course, and most of
those who are trained in the course of the People’s
War have taken courses to train as health assistants for
a very short time and have limited experience. The policy
of developing "barefoot doctors" that was developed under
Mao Tsetung in China is now being implemented in Nepal.
Along with these positive factors, medical
activists in the People’s War also face a lot of problems.
They lack medical instruments, medicine, treatment rooms
and a lot of other things. But despite these difficulties,
with the creative usages of primitive medicines available
in the countryside, dedication to their responsibility and
efforts to serve party cadres and the people, these medical
activists are progressing every day.