Witch Doctor : The Dark Side To Local Traditional Beliefs In Nepal


Witch Doctor ; Modern medical science has made great strides in the treatment of human beings. However, many people still believe in Dhami Jhankri instead of the hospital. Superstition is the same not only in remote areas but also in cities. The locals of Chankhuka in Manthali Municipality of Ramechhap still have the custom of keeping Witch Doctor for treatment. The municipality, which is also the district headquarters, also has hospitals and health posts.

Witch Doctor
Witch Doctor Nepal

But if some people get sick, they go to Witch Doctor instead of the hospital. They trust Dhami Jhankri more than health workers. Along with the level of consciousness, they are forced to rely on Dhami Jhankri due to poverty and lack of health workers in the village. They do not go to the hospital when they are sick. They are in superstition that they will be healed after being blown away by Dhamijhankri. They have the illusion that the patient can be cured only by the medicine given by Dhami.

He is so superstitious about Witch Doctorthat even when Dhami Jhankri himself asks him to go to the hospital, he does not go to the hospital. Even those who have gone abroad urge to get rid of the problem even if it is over the phone. Local people’s representatives argue that Dhami / Jhankri may be the first priority for treatment due to lack of medicine and lack of doctors.

After the locals started relying on Dhamijhankri, the ward office has started respecting Dhamijhankri who sent the patients to the hospital. The cause of the disease is anger of the gods and goddesses. Even at that time, it was believed that the place around their residence was littered with urine. Therefore, even then, people unknowingly said that illness is caused by garbage.

That is why they used to say that there is a place for gods and goddesses near the stream of water, Kuba and the river and they did not urinate. Because they used to get sick after urinating on streams of water, kuba, rivers. They thought that littering around the place of the deity made them sick. Jhankri said that he could talk to the gods, he knew the past, present and future.

He used to treat them with Witch Doctor method after getting sick. After they were weaned, people would develop a sense of self-confidence that I had treated the disease, and the disease would heal with the development of the immune system. Coincidentally and with self-confidence, he really lived. Gradually, these jhankris started using herbs and local herbs as medicine and later this profession was established. Ayurvedic dispensaries were also built under the name of Vaidya to make medicines and treat diseases.

Dhami Jhakri
Witch Doctor

The history of healthcare and hospitals in Nepal is believed to have started from the Lichhavi period. Evidence is found that a ‘sanatorium’ was established for the treatment of Anshu Burma around 605 AD. King Pratap Malla of Kantipur had run an Ayurvedic dispensary for the people at the Hanumandhoka Durbar premises.

The kings of Bhaktapur and Patan, including Pratap Malla, also promoted Ayurvedic medicine. He urged the experts of that time to write a book on Ayurveda and provided various opportunities and training. It is also believed that the present Singha Durbar Vaidyakhana is a continuation of the pharmacy established by King Pratap Malla.

Christian missionaries who entered Kathmandu via Peking, China, Tibet and Lhasa had introduced allopathic medicine in Nepal. At that time, there was trade across the Himalayas through Kathmandu. In 1964, Father de Andrada traveled to Tibet via the Himalayas. In 1661, Father Ruber and Dorville and other associates came to Kathmandu from Lhasa via the Christian Mission in Peking.

At that time, Pratap Malla was the king of Kantipur. At that time, there was an epidemic of plague and cholera in Kathmandu. He gained much praise for controlling the spread of the plague among children. In 1750, Christian missionaries established offices and medical clinics in all three states of the Kathmandu Valley.

After the treaty between Nepal and British India, a British mission was established in Kathmandu. Captain Knox came to Kathmandu as a British resident. FB Hamilton came to the Resident Office as a surgeon. Dr. Oldfield introduced vaccination in Nepal in 1850. At that time, children of Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana’s family were also vaccinated.

Then Dr. Dr. Wright came to Nepal in place of Oldfield. In the year 1883, Dr. Another doctor named Adarnath came. Who treated Chief of Army Staff Dhirshamser, General Bhimshamser etc. Some hospitals and dispensaries were established during the Rana period. Doctors and nurses were brought from India as there was no skilled manpower in Tinta’s health.

In 1857, the Rana government built a leprosy center in Khokna, which is considered to be the first health facility in Nepal. The center was set up far from the city to keep leprosy patients out of society. No treatment was given to the patients kept there. The tenure of Rana Prime Minister Bir Shamsher is considered important in the health history of Nepal.

In 1947, the first hospital was established in Nepal. The first hospital in Nepal was opened in the name of Prithvi-Vir Hospital. Which is now famous as Veer Hospital. In the same year, a hospital was opened in Teku to control cholera and diarrhea. Hospitals were also opened in Birgunj, Jaleshwar, Hanuman Nagar, Toulihawa and Nepalgunj outside the Kathmandu Valley in the name of Prithvi-Vir Hospital.

Witch Doctor
Witch Doctor

Similarly, a leprosy hospital was opened in Tripureshwor. Hospitals were opened in Palpa, Palhi, Doti and Ilam in the name of Chandralok Hospital and Prithvi-Chandra Hospital in Bhaktapur during Chandrashamser. After Tribhuvan became king, hospitals were opened in Dhankuta, Bhadrapur, Sarlahi and Rangeli under the name of Tribhuvan-Chandra Hospital.

In 1925, a 64-bed Tri-Chandra Military Hospital was opened in Kathmandu to treat the wounded of the First World War. After that, separate hospital, radiology and lab services for women were started. In 1918, Naradevi Ayurveda Hospital was established and Ayurvedic dispensaries were established in different districts.

Patan Hospital was established in 1924 BS during the reign of Chandrashamser and the leprosy center of Khokana was expanded to Sanothimi of Bhaktapur. Similarly, a TB treatment center was established in Tokha. During Chandrashamser’s time, 18 hospitals and 14 dispensaries were established. Kharg Hospital was established in Bajhang on the initiative of Bajhangi King Jaya Prithvi Bahadur Singh during the reign of Chandrashamser.

After the establishment of democracy, many health programs were started in Nepal and health posts and health centers were established. During this period, the non-governmental and private sectors also entered the health sector of Nepal. After the planned development started in Nepal, many health institutions were established. Earlier, dispensaries and dispensaries established during the Rana period were converted into health centers and some were developed as hospitals.

Health training centers were set up to train health workers, technicians and nurses. Health centers were established in Banepa, Dailekh, Bhutaha of Ramnagar and Sankhuwasabha Chainpur. Biratnagar Hospital, Dang Hospital and Baglung Hospital were established respectively. Kanti Hospital, Malaria Control Campaign, Measles Control Campaign and Leprosy Control Campaign were launched. Later, family planning and maternal and child health programs began.

In 1958, the Ministry of Health introduced a new health policy, establishing health centers in all 105 constituencies. Mission Hospital was also started during this period. Accordingly, Shant Bhawan in Lalitpur, Suryabinayak Hospital in Bhaktapur, Shir Memorial Hospital in Banepa, Okhaldhunga Hospital, Bulingtar Hospital in Nawalparasi and United Mission Hospital in Palpa were established. Anandavan Liprosy Hospital was established in Lalitpur, Green Pasteur Hospital in Kaski and Dadeldhura Liprosy Hospital in Dadeldhura. At the same time, Indra Rajya Laxmi Maternity Home Hospital was established on the initiative of NGO Charitable Organization.

In the current situation, the government has set up ministries, departments, regional and district public health offices to make health effective. Seen in this way, there seems to be a good network working in the field of health. However, due to the staff working there and the officials of the Hospital Development Committee who stay there from time to time, the general public has not been able to get the treatment they need.

According to the Department of Health, 10 out of 14 zonal hospitals in Nepal have provided services so far. At the district level, 65 district hospitals, 60 district health offices and 15 district public health offices have come into operation. Provision has been made for the post of MBBS doctor in the primary health center established in each constituency. Similarly, there is an arrangement to have health post or sub-health post at village level and municipal level.

There are 115 government hospitals, 200 private hospitals, 18 medical colleges, 17 eye hospitals, 1,750 health posts and 2,300 health posts across the country. This figure is expected to rise further this year as it was at the beginning of last year. Apart from this, there are 48,489 women health volunteers at the village and community level, 13,180 PHC outreach clinics and 16,474 vaccine outreach clinics.

In addition to all these government health facilities, medical colleges, hospitals, community health centers and clinics run by the private sector have also provided health services in most of the urban areas. Some non-governmental organizations are also working in the field of health with the help of international donors.

Witch Doctor
Witch Doctor

In recent times, many allegations in the health service have been leveled at the hospital. But what is the condition of the hospital? Has the state given what it has to give? Does the hospital have the necessary equipment? Patients or service recipients were not found to be interested in such matters.

In order to make the hospital service-oriented, it seems necessary to change many things within us, from the state. To make the health service people-oriented, the ministry should always stay away from politics. The Ministry of Health should make its subordinates take their positional responsibilities seriously. Various opportunities should be invited to fill the vacancies of skilled doctors in health centers.

For example, doctors wortking in remote districts are given special facilities. Similarly, giving special facilities to the doctors working in the village health centers also creates energy in the doctors. The Ministry should make arrangements for the mandatory transfer of doctors to accessible and inaccessible places. The Ministry of Health should continue to build a hospital with modern facilities in Gaugau.

The villagers should raise their voice for the construction of a well-equipped hospital in their village. It is necessary to take it as a debate. Despite the remarkable increase in human consciousness, there has been no change in the thinking of the common man. Even though doctors in government hospitals and doctors in private clinics are one and the same person, people prefer private clinics.

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According to the common man, the disease can be cured by getting tested in a private clinic and the disease cannot be cured by getting tested in a government hospital. People go to private clinics because of the misconception that it takes a long time to diagnose the disease and not get well soon.

It has been seen that some patients go to clinics instead of going to government hospitals for the sake of their reputation. We have a tradition of blaming the hospital for some things but not changing our thinking. We desperately need to change our thinking. Even if the services and facilities provided by the government are taken care of, the health of the people can be greatly improved.

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