THT 10 years ago: Muscular dystrophy is an alien thing for many people

Kathmandu, March 20, 2007

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a chronic physical problem that weakens human muscles and the body.

Patients’ body movement and life span can be improved by physiotherapy, but lack of knowledge about the disease can make it more critical.

“The dangerous problem with this disease is that people are unaware about it and not getting proper medication, thus shortening their own life span,” said Bimal Basukala, a physiotherapist, who usually treats muscular dystrophy patients in Kathmandu.

According to him, there is no medicine to cure the disease, but proper medical supervision and physiotherapy could make a patient’s life easier. Ramesh Shrestha, 26, and Dipesh Shrestha, 24, of Panauti are brothers who showed muscular dystrophy symptoms 12 years ago.

They were diagnosed to have had Becker MD, but they did not go for any treatment. It limited their physical movement and made them totally dependent.

According to Basukala, if these brothers were given physiotherapy from the very beginning they could have had easier life with more body movements. There are many similar cases that are not coming to open.

Lack of awareness among people has made the disease grave. “There is no official data about people living with MD, but the prevalence could be high in Nepal,” assumed Sobha Rai, chairperson of the Nepal Matri Griha that provides physiotherapy to differently able people.

Opium farming booming in Parsa villages

Opium farming is increasingly becoming popular among farmers in Parsa district, a source said. The peasants are supported by smugglers, who in turn have political and administrative backing, the source accused.

Nearly 50 bighas of land in Parsa district’s Bhawaratar, Bishrampur, Santhi Auraha, Nagardaha, Gamhariya, Kauwa Bankataiya VDCs are covered with poppy plants this year.

Santhi Auraha’s Santhi and Kauwa Bankataiya started opium plantation from this year. “If the authorities concerned continue ignoring this illegal act, the number of people pursuing this occupation will increase by three-fold next year,” said a local.

Seeds are planted in October-November which will be ready to harvest by mid-March. A local at Bhawaratar VDC said: “Except a few, almost all the crops harvested this year have been sold in the Indian market.”

Opium cultivators from Bishrampur VDC pay Rs 850,000 to the police and administration through a middlemen every year, claimed a source.

Bishrampur and Bhawaratar VDCs are 10-15 km away from the district headquarters Birgunj. Bishrampur does not have even a temporary police post.