Head of the department of Otolaryngology, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu State, Dr. James Akpeh, has said that failure to prosecute medical quacks fuels the dangerous practice throughout the country.
Speaking on ‘The Menace of Quackery and the Contemporary Medical Practice’ at the Annual General Meeting/Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Enugu yesterday, Akpeh also stated that inability of government to bring quality healthcare within the reach of all increased the vulnerability of the people, particularly the rural segment.
Similarly, the state chairman of NMA, Dr. Ike Okwesili, said healthcare delivery through out-of-pocket payment would not guarantee access to quality and affordable healthcare for the people.He praised the state government for setting up a reforms committee on the health sector, stressing that adoption of the committee’s report and full implementation of the state’s health sector reform law would advance the cause of healthcare delivery in the state.
Akpeh added that ignorance, poverty, dysfunctional healthcare system, lack of medical personnel at the grassroots, desire to get rich quick, double taxation on hospitals, faulty loan system and high import duties on medical equipment and consumables sustained quackery in the health sector.
The otolaryngologist, who is also chairman, Anti-quackery Committee of Enugu NMA, said that government was either doing little or nothing in ridding the country of fake doctors.He cited cases of suspects arrested in the past for quackery without prosecution.
To contain the spread of quackery in Enugu, the NMA is reportedly indexing all private hospitals and health facilities in the state, adding that three illegal hospitals were shut down for operating without any form of registration with the ministry of health, and their operators now at large.
According to him, the state is duty-bound to safeguard citizens’ rights by providing basic services, adding that control of quackery was a matter of public education, effective monitoring and regulation.
Author: Lawrence Njoku