Kamal and his team celebrated Nag Panchami (Nepali Snake Festival) at Midpoint District Hospital, in Kawasoti-16, Nawalpur, Gandaki Province in Nepa. They conducted a “Save Snakes Save Nature Nag Panchami Special Snakebite Initiative Program” on 5 August 2019.
Panchami is the fifth day among the fifteen days of the moon’s waxing and/or waning. The Nag Panchami always falls on the fifth day of the moon’s waning in the Lunar in the month of July/August (Nepali Shrawan month). On Nag Panchami, images of snakes that are painted, snake posters and snake sculptures made from wood and stone are worshipped by Hindu people in Nepal. People stick images of snakes on their doorways and walls outside the house and they also spell the mantras written in the poster/images. It is believed that by worshipping snakes on this special day, snakebite can be avoided, diseases can be cured, and this will assure rain for their growing crops. On other days, when encountered, most of the people will kill the snakes whether it is venomous or non-venomous due to fear of being bitten and due to lack of awareness. However, on this special day, people generally try to avoid snakes.
The Midpoint District Hospital, Nawalpur has added Snakebite Treatment Facilities in the hospital for this holy occasion. Dr. Gopal Khanal, Chairman of the Midpoint District Hospital Management Committee was highly appreciative for the initiation and the importance of the Snakebite Treatment Facility in this district hospital. The snakebite management training was conducted with the medical personnel through the guidance of Dr. Chhabilal Thapa, Medical Director at Kaligandaki Hospital and Dr. Rohan Jha, Medical Director of the Emergency Room at the College of Medical Sciences Teaching Hospital in Bharatpur. Save Snakes Save Nature campaigner Mr. Kamal Devkota, the Conservation Partner of Save The Snakes shared his knowledge regarding the “Importance of Snakes to Biodiversity” for this program. Approximately 50 participants were present at the program including doctors, nurses, lab technicians, health assistants, paramedical students, lecturers, the hospital management committee, local leaders, and media personnel. The team distributed brochures, posters and Nepal Toxinology Association (NTA) bulletins to all the participants. The team members were also interviewed by various newspapers, television news channels and F.M. radios and the program was broadcasted from local televisions and F.M. stations. The program was organized by Midpoint District Hospital Management Team in collaboration with NTA. Chandra Kumari Pun, Mayor of the Kawasoti Municipality, was invited as a Chief Guest of the program.
The team was also very thankful to Priyanka Kadam and her team for providing a “Snakebite Need Not Kill Be Aware, Be Safe” video documentary produced by Snakebite Healing and Education Society which was shown to the public for the first time in Nepal.