Curbing Quackery in Medical Practice

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One of the cardinal responsibilities of any government is the provision of adequate health care services to the citizens.

These include establishment of health care centers, employment of qualified medical personnel and provision of equipment among others needed for effective Health Care delivery.

Medical personnel are equally saddled with the task of caring for the sick and saving lives in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath sworn by medical doctors.

Every profession seems to be battling with quackery, but over the years, quackery in the medical profession has been a thorn in the flesh of innocent people which has been depriving citizens of their right to life and quality Health Care as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended.

Simply put, a quack is an untrained person who pretends professionally or publicly to have knowledge or skill he or she does not possess in a particular field.

By extension, quackery connotes establishing or running a healthcare facility without the prerequisite qualification or operating beyond the limits or scope of one’s specialization or expertise.

The menace of quackery has created huge danger to the Health Care system.

It is also pathetic that brain drain of qualified doctors in Nigeria is taking its toll on the country as well as health of the citizenry and hence created a gap for quacks to operate with impunity.

Some of the factors responsible for quackery include poor licensing strategy, ignorance, lack of monitoring team, illiteracy, poor health delivery, poverty, and incessant strike in public hospitals which usually force people to patronize cheap private clinics.

There have been cases of unqualified and unlicensed medical personnel operating in public and private hospitals.

A vivid example that remains fresh in the minds of Nigerians is that of a secondary school certificate holder who has been posing as a medical doctor working in the Federal Ministry of Health for almost ten years using practice license he allegedly stole from his friend.

This and many more have created a harmful and dangerous practice that has endangered the lives of people who innocently patronize them.

Until a bold step is taken, this trend will continue unabated.

It has become important for government and all stakeholders in the health sector to collaborate in order to stamp out quacks in the medical profession.

There is the urgent need for concerned professional bodies to adopt anti- quackery strategy such as seals and stamp that will distinguish trained personnel from quacks.

The federal and state governments will do well by addressing the problems of poverty, strikes in health institutions and bring health care delivery to the doorstep of the masses through the expansion of National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.

Government should ensure mandatory renewal of hospitals and medical laboratories licenses with a view to closing down unregistered ones.

It is equally important for government to ensure that all approved medical facilities are manned by qualified professionals with verification.

In addition, stringent measures should be put in place to ensure that only private hospitals that meet the stipulated standards are approved.

Above all, Nigerians have to desist from patronizing make shift clinics so as not to jeopardise their physical and mental well-being.

Adeyoyin Shomoye

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