Mr. Gagan Kumar Thapa is a Member of the House of Representatives in the Federal Parliament of Nepal and a former Minister of Health (August, 2016 to Jul, 2017). His tenure within the ministry was marked by major reform initiatives aimed at strengthening Nepal’s health system. His urgent and immediate focus was to expand the reach of health services particularly to those that need it the most: the poor, people with mental health problems, and differently-abled. He led the effort in the ministry to draft the Health Insurance Act (2017) and lobbied the parliament to pass it into law, which includes an individual mandate with government subsidies for premiums for people unable to pay. He spearheaded a 7-year Integrated Health Infrastructure Plan that provides new funding to upgrade and modernize Nepal’s health system in three key areas: human resources, infrastructure, and equipment. The success of this project is critical as it will boost morale of health workers across the system while enhancing people’s confidence in health services delivered by the public sector.
During his tenure, Mr Thapa also sought to expand the scope of the health ministry to better govern and ensure quality of health care in Nepal. He envisioned the need for Quality Assurance Authority and drafted a bill to create such a body. Under his leadership, there was also significant progress in establishing a new Ethical Code of Conduct for health providers, licensing of private medical providers, enhancing the scope of the Department of Drug Administration to more effectively regulate medicines, medical equipment, and other health products in the country.
As a Member of Federal Parliament, he continues to use his political weight aimed at efforts to better regulate medical colleges through the Medical Education Bill and provides critical feedback on the annual health budget. He has recently begun a nationwide campaign to mobilize a Citizen’s Movement to give people a voice in the design and delivery of health services.
Mr. Thapa holds a Bachelors in Science from Tri-Chandra College and a Masters in Sociology from Tribhuvan University.