Health workers giving treatment to the Rautes living in Khanichaur of Dungeshwar Rural Municipality, Dailekh. Photo: Govinda KC/Republica
DAILEKH, June 21: Two years ago, Kapil Shahi, a youth from the Raute community, sustained serious burn injuries while basking around fire to escape cold during winter. For a year, his family tried their best to cure his burn injuries by using all available medicinal herbs but to no avail. Though they were assured of treatment in Kathmandu from various individuals, they declined the offer. There was a situation when he had to fight for his survival after which they finally agreed to take help.
Following the advice proved to be the right decision as Kapil got cured within six months and returned back to his home. Duni Shahi, the wife of Raute chief Mahin Bahadur Shahi, had cancer of her leg. She was able to walk again after undergoing surgery in Kathmandu.
Earlier, people of the Raute community never trusted hospitals and health centers for curing their diseases and injuries. They always stuck to their traditional methods of using herbs. In fact, most of them never knew that there are other ways to cure diseases. Doctors often reached their villages carrying medicines but they always refused to get treatment from them.
Surprisingly, it's been a year since the Rautes have started changing their traditional mindset regarding medications. They have started visiting health organizations for treatment. When health workers reach their villages, they openly share their health problems. Health worker Jagat BC recalls how the same people threw away the medicines he provided them during his last visit about two years ago.
According to Raute chief Mahin Bahadur Shahi, these days locals of his community have been using medicines even for minor ailments. Those with critical health issues are sent to health organizations for treatment. Ram Prasad Sharma, chief administrative officer of Dungeshwar Rural Municipality, informed that a team of health workers were deployed in the Raute community of Talbarahi for a week for their checkup and treatment. Rautes, the last nomads of Nepal who still live in the forests, have started changing their lifestyle a bit in the recent days. There was a time when they believed that touching money is a sin but now they accept allowance for their children immediately after their birth. Not just that, they have changed their eating habits too. In the past, they just ate food and herbs from the jungles but now they rely largely on goods bought from the market.
In order to make it easier for them to get treatment, the government has started providing them with identity cards. This has made it easier for them to get allowance too.
Caption: Health workers giving treatment to the Rautes living in Khanichaur of Dungeshwar Rural Municipality, Dailekh.