Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine with a distinct and holistic approach to life, health, disease, remedy and cure. It is thoroughly scientific in its approach to medicine. The Government of Nepal has been trying to make its health system simpler, less expensive and more systematized. Hence, the Health Service Act of 1996 recognized the Allopathic method, Ayurvedic method and Homeopathic method under the health service system. The Homeopathic system of medicine is legally accepted in Nepal, as an independent form of medical treatment.
In Nepal, homeopathy evolved rather recently and at the present moment is still in the developmental phase. It began during the Rana Regime. In the period of Sri Tin Chandra Shamsher, in the year 1922, there was an epidemic of cholera. Dr. K. Mukherjee from India visited Nepal during the epidemic and treated people successfully using homeopathic “Camphor”. Subsequently, homeopathy became part of elite society, but still did not reach the extended community of Nepal.
In 1953, Ram Agori Baba, a saint, requested that His Majesty King Tribhuvan establish a Homeopathic hospital. Upon his request, Pashupati Homeopathic Hospital was established in 1953, with a facility for out- patient service and six bedded facilities situated at Harihar Bhawan, Lalitpur. From 1955 to 1973, Dr. Achyut Bahadur Shrestha served as the appointed Royal Homeopathic Physician.
There is evidence of clinics providing service from 1960 to 1963 at remote places of Nepal. However, there were also openings and closings of clinics, which indicates the situation for homeopathy in Nepal at that time.
Homeopathic treatment and services are currently available at Pashupati Homeopathic Hospital. It has one senior medical officer and two homeopathic physicians. The Government is planning to extend the number of beds, and increase the number of homeopathic doctors and technical staff. In 2006, follow up records for new and old patients show that Pashupati Homeopathic Hospital treated 65,000 patients in that one year. This is confirmed by Dr. M.S. Khan, Director of Pashupati Homeopathic Hospital.
The government has been organizing various meetings to establish an “Alternative Council” which will bring Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chinese medicine, Acupuncture and Unani medicine under the umbrella of that council. There is an open invitation for alternative sciences to come under this council and it is currently in the process of development. There are thirteen members, among whom four are homeopathic doctors. The president of this council is Dr. Mohammad Shabbir Khan, director of Pashupati Homeopathic Hospital. The future of homeopathy in Nepal, now looks very hopeful.
On June 25-27 of 2007, Dr. Mohammad Shabbir Khan, participated in the revised draft of the WHO guidelines on quality and safety of homeopathic medicines. This project was organized by the Traditional Medicine (TRM) “Department of Technical Cooperation for Essential Drugs and Traditional Medicine” (TCM), of the World Health Organization. The meeting was held at Milan, Italy and Dr. Mohammad Shabbir Khan represented Nepal, presenting his views on the status of homeopathy in Nepal. He was sent by the Ministry of Health and Population in Nepal, which represents the first time the government has sent such an official to represent the country at an international level.
Nepal Homeopathic Medical College was established under the guidance of Mr. Tarun Sancheti, in Biratnagar, the eastern region of Nepal. The college teaches homeopathy similar to the way it is taught in India. It is a five and one half year course, upon completion of which the graduates are independent homeopathic doctors. The college is trying to fulfill all the required procedures and the government is supervising the quality of work. This is an important milestone for the development of homeopathy in Nepal. There are now groups of qualified homeopathic doctors who are serving the communities of Eastern Nepal, Jhapa.
The city of Bhaktapur, 13 km from Kathmandu, is densley populated, but has lacked health care facilities. Bhaktapur Homeopathic clinic has been initiated to serve those who seek holistic treatment. It gives priority to patients having a low socioeconomic background, by providing inexpensive homeopathic treatment.
Originally, Bhaktapur Homeopathic clinic was an initiative coming from the project Bhaktapur International Homeopathic Clinic of European Doctors. The duration of the previous project was five years, from 1995 till 2001. During this period doctors from Europe contributed significantly to the development of homeopathy in Nepal, giving theoretical and practical lessons to enthusiastic Nepalese students. There was also a Classical Homeopathic clinic. It was at this time that Classical Homeopathy came into existence in Nepal. European doctors served the economically disadvantaged people of the Bhaktapur area and produced Nepali homeopaths who are now highly qualified to treat patients independently. To give continuity to this pioneering work, Mr. Rabindra Puri initiated another project, the Bhaktapur Homeopathic Clinic, with full support from the members of BIHC from Europe.
Dr. Tinus Smits, Dr. Ortrud Lindemann, Dr. Resie Moonen , Dr. Kurt Costers and Dr. Barbara Fischer made great contributions to the development of this project. This project has received support from Britta Gudgeons with the support of remedies, and Harry Van Der Jee, editor of Homeo Links, has always supported us by providing Homeopathic Links to the project. Dr. Prem Bharati S.A Devkota from Bhaktapur Homoepathic Clinic, was the first woman Homoeopathic doctor to represent Homeopathy in Nepal at the LIGA congress of 2005. She has been a contact person for Nepal at the national level. Dr. Ambika Gnawali and Dr. Rajesh Pradhanang from BHC, represented us at LIGA 2006. With this team of doctors, homeopathy is being spread to the far corners of Nepal. They regularly conduct awareness raising programs in the field of Classical Homeopathy, write articles on homeopathy and treat patients at the Clinic.
Dr. Ortrud Lindemann from Germany inaugurated the Bhaktapur Homeopathic Medical College in November 2008. Bhaktapur Homeopathic Clinic has worked tirelessly towards the development of classical Homeopathy. The Homeopathic Health Assistant (HHA) program, which has been a dream since the establishment of the new project, finally became a reality in August 2008, when the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training gave permission to start the course. This HHA program is focused on creating classical homeopaths who can reach the remote corners of Nepal. In this course, students will be selected from remote areas as much as possible. They will be taught homeopathy and human health sciences full time for three years, along with clinical skills in both fields. This will enable them to practice classical homeopathy independently in remote areas of Nepal.
Dr. Ulrich Fischer, president of Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis is visiting Nepal on December 2008 to extend his further cooperation in the field of homeopathy in Nepal. ”
There were a growing number of new pharmacy shops and homeopathic organizations in 2007 -2008. His Holiness Buddha Maitriya Treatment and Healing Center, Swayambu, which is providing excellent service in the community, has also extended its service to Bhaktapur. Articles on homeopathy appear in publications from private organizations and in the general newspapers as well, indicating a growing interest in homeopathy.
On the downside, however, most homeopaths work independently and there are few possibilities for sharing their experiences. Pharmaceutical companies have little connection with homeopaths. It has been estimated that there are around 70 qualified homeopathic doctors presently in Nepal, running their private clinics. Homeopaths have to struggle alone, as there is no platform where young homeopaths can work together and share their experiences, for professional growth and development.
The “Homeopathic Health Assistant College” can be that platform for new graduates of homeopathy. If the Alternative Council establishes it, we can expect more change is yet to come in Nepal. Nepal is in the process of stabilizing new policies and we need to focus on the development of homeopathy. A group of homeopaths are coordinating plans in this direction.