Himalayan News Service

Charikot, June 6:

Better late than never. In what may be termed a paradigm shift in societal trend, at least here, shamans have increasingly come to realise that faith healing does not work at all times and have started referring patients to local health clinics for medical attention over and above rendering their own ‘healing’ processes. Jaya Bahadur Khadka of Suri VDC had been relying on shamans for a long time but things have changed somewhat lately. He used to offer eggs to gods to be free from diseases, but now he uses eggs to nourish a malnourished child. Khadka changed after receiving training on rural health, malnourishment, diarrhoea, TB and leprosy.

The shamans of the Khopachagu VDC have united for the betterment of the health service in the VDC. Shaman Bhakta Bahadur Dhami said they have been, to a large extent, been responsible for the health problems encountered by the villagers. “We have been working by forming groups,” Dhami said, adding: “The villagers rely on us; so we do our part and send them to the clinic or request them to take the patient to the clinic immediately”. There have been many cases of deaths due to too much reliance on the shamans. However, awareness training seems to be working, Maheshwor Bhakta Shrestha, health executive of the Rural Health Development Project, said, adding the project has trained 43 shamans of the VDC till date.

Chuda Mani Bhandari, chief of district health office, said there are more health problems in the rural areas due to misconception and conservative thinking. Different organisations and the district health office have been coordinating the awareness training, Bhandari said.

There is one hospital, 10 health posts, 42 sub-health posts and one municipality in the district and one health coordination committee in all 51 VDCs of the district. Bhandari said the local AAMA group has been assisting them in the health sector.