Quacks playing havoc with public health

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By Taj Nabi Khan

ISLAMABAD, Dec 11 (APP): Rise in number of unskilled and illegal medical practitioners (Quacks), including dispensers, paramedics, uncertified hakeems and faith healers, who use doctor with their names, is posing serious threats to public health.

Some of the quacks are allegedly found involved in using veterinary drugs on their patients as these medicines are much cheaper in price in comparison to those used to treat humans.

Moreover, it is also a common phenomenon that instead of curing a disease, the quacks often make it more complicated by spreading diseases either by using a single syringe on several patients or injecting it in a wrong way.

But, on the other hand, if we take a look at qualified doctors, they too are minting money instead of serving humanity which should be their top priority. They not only prescribe expensive medicines but also send their patients to private  laboratories and extract commission from medical stores and laboratories.

Talking to APP, Shahid, a resident of Sector I/10 said quacks were using uncertified drugs without any check from the concerned authority in various parts of the country. Majority of them had not passed even matriculation exam but run their clinics after having some experience with qualified doctors, he added.

The quacks also run their advertisements on local cable networks, claiming that they could successfully treat hepatitis or any other chronic disease in a couple of days.

But they actually end up in spreading more diseases by prescribing medicines without diagnosing the actual disease.

Dr. Nasir Khan, a medical practitioner said quacks and sellers of fake medicines were violating the clear directives of the Supreme Court which had directed the authorities concerned to take concrete steps against them, he added.

Mudassar Iqbal, a working Journalist based in Islamabad said, “A hakeem in Rawalpindi, sitting alongside railway road, is expert in befooling simple and innocent citizens as he is used to persuade fatty persons to get weight reduction tablets at Rs 400 with a guaranteed result within a week.

Mohammed Asghar, a patient outside a quack’s clinic, told the scribe that he had no choice but to visit the quack because senior and qualified doctors in the city were charging huge amount for check-up.

A quack, requesting anonymity, said he had remained attached with a qualified doctor for over seven years before starting his clinic.

Zahid Khan, a resident hailing from Mardan said, “My father Sher Alam Khan had died recently by using drugs recommended by a local dispenser.”

Director Operation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Health Care Commission, Asif Naveed said, “More than 250 clinics of qualified doctors were issued show cause notices for not observing the medical code of conduct such as failing to keep the patient record, female attendant and display of  service charges.”

He said, “In coordination with district administration, more than 20 private clinics of unqualified doctors were sealed last month in district Peshawar.”

The Commission was making efforts to limit the services of paramedics’ staff in clinics across the province to first-aid only, he added.

Media Coordinator, Punjab Health Care Commission, Javid Pasha, said the major function of the Commission was to register health centers across the province and issue them licenses. Out of 2500 health centers, only 600 were issued licenses, as the remaining were failed to meet the criteria, he added.

Pasha said Punjab Health Care Commission had sealed around 1700 private clinics of unqualified doctors in five divisions of the province.

On violation of the code of conduct, the Commission had imposed a fine of Rs. 15 million to health centers and recovered an amount of Rs. 11 million this year, he added.