‘Doctors also contribute to medical quackery’

Practicing Doctors in Oyo State have been charged to checkmate medical quackery in the state given its implication on their profession as well as human lives.

Dr Diran Olabisi, a retired permanent secretary and former, Director of Medical Services, Oyo State Hospitals Management board gave the charge at the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Oyo State branch Continuing Medical Education lecture in Ibadan.

The medical expert said though medical quackery has been constant through ages, and in all professions, it was a problem being fuelled by the society, fear of surgery, medical doctors, the government and the media.

According to him, “Poverty or ignorance or both tend to make them price professional services low. Some educated ones because of ignorance and the poor ones because of poverty end up with the bone setters. But what follows this is complications and deformities.

“Many Nigerians fear surgery. Because of this fear and being used to the native doctors, they fall into the hands of those who promise to cure hernias, appendicitis, fibroid and so on without holding a knife.

“Some bad eggs amongst us cover quacks and traditional midwives for monetary rewards. Some promote quackery by not visiting hospitals established by nurses after we have signed undertaken to supervise such facilities and therefore leave the nurses to practice quackery.”

Continuous under-funding of the health sector, poor facilities in Nigerian hospitals and poor remuneration of medical doctors by government, he said, had also contributed to residents and poorly trained medical officers open clinics to practise quackery.

Olabisi, an Ear, Nose and Throat expert, who recounted cases of medical quacks both in government and private hospitals as well as the Federal Ministry of Health, said quacks may include medical doctors doing jobs they were not trained for and other hospital staff that act as medical doctors.

The medical expert, who disclosed that training of auxiliary nurses by some private hospitals was contributory to quackery in the health sector, stated that this was better resolved by doctors ensuring that training of auxiliary nurses is recognised and standardised by the government.

Olabisi said government’s recognition of traditional birth attendants as a stop gap to make up for the shortage of trained and licensed midwives needs to be reviewed, saying that they were also a set of medical quacks that should be replaced by mass production of midwives.

“Traditional birth attendants always take on more than what they should do, that is the problem,” he declared.

In putting an end to quackery, Dr Olabisi asked that patients should know their rights and their responsibilities; government address the problems of poverty and illiteracy; and that all doctors display their certificates and current registration licences to practise for all to see.

He urged the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and other health professional licensing boards to go all out to address the problem of quackery.

Also, NMA he said should make the fight against quackery a priority.

“We should not over charge the poor people and thereby push them to the quacks. However, the time health insurance fully takes off, it will also limit this problem because all health outfits both at the federal, state and local government levels would enrol in the health insurance scheme,” he concluded.