Though originated in Europe, homeopathic treatment gained rapid popularity in this subcontinent and its practice became widespread throughout the twentieth century. In developing countries it represents a major treatment modality for the poor. In Bangladesh, the world’s eighth most populous country, the practice of homeopathic medicine is also quite old. The first formal institution was the Bangladesh Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, a private institution, established in Dhaka in 1948. Later in 1979, the government established a similar institution: Government Homeopathic Medical College with a 100 bed hospital which offered a 5-year course of Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS).
Government Homeopathic Medical College
The University of Dhaka subsequently recognized the system. The college has at present about 3500 students. There is a Directorate of Homeopathy and Indigenous Medicines. Besides that, there are 37 homeopathic diploma colleges overseen by the Bangladesh Homeopathy Board. There are tens of thousands of homeopathic practitioners in the country. Previously it was the poor section of the population where homeopathy was popular, as it is a low-cost medicine, but now patients from affluent society also consult homeopathic practitioners.
University of Dhaka
A cross sectional study was conducted in Dhaka city from March to July, 2008 to determine the characteristics of patients seeking homeopathic treatment. A sample of 250 patients was selected for interview for the study. The study revealed that about one third (31%) of the patients prefer homeopathic treatment and the rest also take other treatments like Allopathic, Ayurvedic and Unani. The majority of the patients chose homeopathic treatment, as it has long lasting cures (54%), low cost (27%) and no side effects (25%). The following diseases for which patients commonly consult a homeopath are, skin/dermatological, alimentary/gastrointestinal, ENT, genital diseases, respiratory, psychiatric, rheumatological, cardiovascular, allergic, gynecological diseases and cancer. About 76% of patients had previous experience of homeopathic treatment, while 24% received it for the first time. In Bangladesh, 51% of the population has no health care service. Of the remaining 49%, only 20% uses conventional (allopathic) medical treatment and the rest (29%) use homeopathic and other alternative medicines.
Regarding reasons for choosing homeopathic treatment in our country, patients mentioned long lasting cure, low cost, no side effect, and no need for pathological tests, which reveals mostly the economic concerns of the patients. 47% of patients mentioned ineffectiveness of allopathic medicine and homeopathy’s lack of side effects as the reason for choosing homeopathy.
According to a news report of BBC Bangla dated 22nd July 2015, homeopathy is gaining popularity day by day. For that reason more students are now interested in studying homeopathy. A survey conducted by a non government institution “Asha University” found that 40% of the whole population of Bangladesh are using homeopathy. The report also mentioned these advantages of homeopathy:
- There are more than 1,050,000 symptoms which can be treated effectively,
- There are 4448 medicines which are proved on healthy human beings and no medicine has been recalled to this day.
- Diseases are annihilated from the root cause and once healed never appear again.
- Many cases normally requiring surgery are cured without an operation.
- Homeopathy can successfully treat diseases or symptoms that are not found by any laboratory test.
- Homeopathic medicines are diluted and potentized to the point that they are turned into a form of energy, which cannot be perceived by a microscope.
It is obvious that in order to achieve health for all, alternative medicines must be incorporated into the health care system along with conventional medicine, which has also been suggested by the World Health Organization.
The cost factor has significantly contributed to its widespread practice in Bangladesh and appears to have benefited clients and practitioners alike. Our country is unfortunately the poorest in the world. Most of the people living in this country are too poor to afford proper allopathic treatment or the cost of visiting a medical doctor or to buy even the most common medicines. If homeopaths are somewhat charitable and God fearing those poor patients can be treated. Actually, the cost of homeopathic medicine is very little and well within the reach of the poor. It is high time we recognize homeopathy and build a homeopathic clinic/hospital in Bangladesh based on holistic treatment. It is ideal for our country, being both affordable and effective.
Let us reduce our fees or charges and try and treat more patients. The holy prophet has said that the service to Allah’s creation is a great worship. Let us nurse the desire to serve within our means. Allah will reward us for “Allah is the best of providers” (Holy Quran Sura 62 verse 11).
- Homeopathy – Banglapedia.banglapedia.org/index.php?title=Homeopathy