Nearly 500 quacks are making a killing in Bharatpur’s villages and towns, according to health officials who expressed helplessness in dealing with the menace due to staff shortage.
Bharatpur’s chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Gopal Ram said block health officers have been asked to collate data on action against quacks, but as the year draws to a close, he is yet to receive any data.
Praveen Kumar, the district coordinator of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act and in charge of action against quacks, says there are nearly 500 of them active in the district.
“We raid illegal clinics when we receive information about them but there is a shortage of staff in the department, which hampers action,” he said.
Clinics run by quacks have taken advantage of the fact that government and authorised private hospitals are quite far from villagers and primary health centres are often crowded.
Such illegal clinics abound in Kaman, Pahari, Sikri, Gopalgarh, Jurahara, Nagar, Deeg, Kumher, Sewar, Nadbai, Rupwas, Uchchain, Bayana, Weir and Bhusawar areas.
In 2015, the department issued notices to 151 such illegal medical practitioners but took action against only 13.
Health officials say people who worked with doctors or in hospitals as paramedics set up illegal clinics in mofussil towns and provide treatment to poor villagers.
“They don’t have licence to dispense drugs and are not permitted to treat patients,” the CMHO said.
“These unskilled and illegal medical practitioners treat patients by giving injections and infusing IV fluids,” said an official who wished not to be named.
When there’s a disease outbreak—such as vector-borne diseases—the quacks rake in business despite not having expertise in handling the infections.
These clinics also stock medicines which they procure from wholesalers and retailers at district headquarters. It is illegal to sell drugs to unlicensed persons under the Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1945. For dispensing drugs, a person needs a licence from the drug control organisation of the state, said an official.
The CMHO said his department will take legal action against quacks after a list of such clinics is ready.
The situation is similar in other districts of Bharatpur division Dholpur, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur.