| June 23, 2017
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Muslims in Myagdi reject medicine against elephantiasis

MYAGDI, April 8: Majority people from Muslim communities in Myagdi have rejected medicine against elephantiasis in the 7th phase of mass-feeding campaign against the disease.

The annual campaign, which started this year from Thursday, is part of government's plan to contain elephantiasis infection in the country to one percent by 2020.
Muslim communities, especially those residing in the district headquarters Beni and surrounding areas, have resisted consuming the medicine citing religious reasons, according to health workers.

"We cannot consume this medicine. Please stop forcing us," a female health worker quoted a Muslim woman as saying during the campaign.

"Mosquitoes that transfer elephantiasis infection are found abundantly in areas where Muslim communities reside in the district. So they are highly vulnerable to the infection," said Ghan Shyam Sigdel, focal person of the campaign. "Yet most of them do not agree to consume the medicine even when we inform them about the risks and dangers of elephantiasis infection."

"We are not consuming medicines against elephantiasis because of our religious belief," said Rahamat Khan, chairman of Myagdi chapter of Muslim Samaj Sewa.

There are about 27 Muslim households in the district with a population of about 200.

Muslims in urban areas are more hesitant to consume the medicines than those in rural areas of the district, according to health workers.

Even the educated people of the community resist taking medicines.

A total of 104,200 people in the district have consumed medicines against the infection in the current fiscal year, informed the District Health Office (DHO), Myagdi. As many as 187 health workers have been deputed in the district for the medicine feeding campaign.

A total of 1,400 people in the district, which is 2.33 percent of the district's total population, are infected with elephantiasis, according to a report of the DHO.