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8 September, 2020 06:45:54 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 September, 2020 06:53:49 PM

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Fraudulent quacks putting patients’ life at risk

According to a recent study 75% of the quacks suggest inappropriate medicine while 7% recommend harmful medicine for their patients
Alaul Alam
Fraudulent quacks putting patients’ life at risk

It goes no denying that medical science has advanced tremendously over the years. But in many developing countries like ours the reign of quacks is still permeating in prescribing patients with medical services, which are conspicuously found in the countryside.

The word ‘quack’ as per dictionary meaning is taken as an ignorant pretender of medical skills.

In our country 80% medical services in the rural areas are provided by the quacks or quack doctors. The study demonstrates that almost nine out of 10 people are consulted by the quacks who are popular with patients from all socio-economic groups.

It is true that once we had a dire shortage of doctors compared to the population with a geographic mal-distribution of the doctors where cities and villages were not given the equal priority.  For example, according to the report of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2011, there were an estimated 3.05 physician per 1000 population. But the scenario has changed radically over the years.

 According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2016, the number of doctors the country required was 64,395 but it grew 74.924 pointing to a surplus of more than 11 thousand doctors.

This statistics shows that though in the past the country went on with a dire crisis of the competent doctors that made the quacks help to change their fortunes, in recent years we are sufficient at producing medical graduates. So, amid this trend what challenges do we have to end the reign of the quacks?

In most cases the quacks have no formal training or diploma on medical science but in some cases they may have a few years’ experience working as assistants of the registered MBBS doctors and may be many who have no experience except working at medicine dispensaries or may be some others completing merely one or two months training course. Among the others some may buy fake certificates from unauthorized institutions.

Another concern is, it seems astounding when they are found desperately using the title doctor before their names and carrying on their deceitful business unabatedly. Many of the fraudsters own pharmaceutical stores together with treating and consulting the patients.

According to the BMDC Act 2010, article 29, no one can use the title 'doctor' without having an MBBS or a BDS degree and any violator can be subjected to be sentenced to jail or face a monetary fine. 

Usually these medical pretenders have the ability to influence upon the people keeping a good-term to all. They prescribe inappropriate medicine, not only that, these so-called doctors quite often prescribe excessive medicines and high-dosages of antibiotics causing many health problems and the patients become antibiotic resistant resulting in huge sufferings with side-effects including fatality.

According to a recent study 75% of the quacks suggest inappropriate medicine while 7% recommend harmful medicine for their patients. On top of that they are found to use fake or replica drugs which unquestionably lead the patients to damaging many parts of the body or succumbing to premature death.

According to the source of the Guardian, 25000 children die every year across the globe due to the pandemic of fake drugs.

Another deceitful episode of the quacks the country goes on to experience that in recent times a type of Kabiraj or Tantric have claimed themselves to be the physicians of all diseases and problems continuing to allure patients with fake promises for quick recovery from different diseases. They assure patients that any disease can be cured within 72 hours.

People, especially low-income group, who are unaware about modern medical treatment and believe in superstition, actually go to a Kabiraj and are cheated financially and mentally resulting in irreparable loss of their health. Mainly, girls and women are the worst victims. Dailies of the country have exposed a few incidents in this regard.

Such a practice of treatment is commonplace in different parts of the country especially the cities are the highly growing platforms for the fraudsters. Though they are cheating people violating laws, they hardly get punishment.

Though Section 30 (3) of the Bangladesh Unani and Ayurvedic Practitioners Ordinance, 1983, mentions that whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 30, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to Tk 1,000, or with both.

The dailies of the country often expose many incidents of the fake doctors around the country. It has been almost common to hear that a fake doctor has killed a patient. Especially the number of fake and quack doctors is gathering in the cities in recent times due to flourishing their business as it is easy to establish their new identity there.

As health is one of the most important issues among our fundamental rights mentioned in the constitution, it is time to stop all these stupidities done by the quacks in the name of medical services. The law enforcement agencies must be strict against those violating the health rights of people. More importantly, the state should be committed to providing standard medical facilities to all.

 

The writer teaches at Prime University. Email: malaulalam@gmail.com

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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