Superstitious belief in faith healers is costing lives

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On January 11, a 21-year-old pregnant woman from Swanda in ward 6 of Sayal Rural Municipality suffered from labour but instead of taking her to the Dallekh Birthing Centre, about 15 minutes’ walk from her house, her family members took her to a local faith healer.

The faith healer convinced her family that they should follow some rituals to ensure an uncomplicated birth. The family followed his advice, but the pregnant woman’s condition did not improve. When all else failed, the family members took the pregnant woman to the Doti District Hospital, about an hour from Swanda.

Dr Nirajan Shrestha at the hospital suggested conducting a C-section (caesarean section) for the safe delivery of the baby and for the health of the mother. But the family refused since the faith healer had advised against it.

“We even tried to convince the pregnant woman’s husband, but he also forbade us to conduct any surgeries,” said Shrestha. “The family only agreed to a surgery after the woman’s condition deteriorated. But it was too late by then. The baby had already died in the womb.”

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