I was on an assignment at Domra Kanda, an asylum for the mentally ill in Kishoreganj, Bangladesh, where the only medications provided are these ‘medallions’ filled with spiritual spells and ‘blessed water’ from traditional spiritual healers. Illiteracy about medical treatments – particularly those related to mental health issues – misconceptions and limited health facilities mean that many parents resort to their faith in such medallions and other blessings from spiritual healers. The clinics which provide such traditional solutions do not offer scientific medications of any type and neither are they approved by any health authority. But for many Bangladeshis, faith in traditional healers and their treatments is more powerful, effective and easily available than scientific medication. The parents strongly believe that it is their faith in such spirituality that will cure their child and bring back the long lost peace and happiness to their family.
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