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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Quacks outnumber docs in UP

QUACKS ARE the lifeline of health services in Uttar Pradesh. If this has shocked you, here?s why. The Health Department record states that the number of unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners in the State is 32,245 as against 12,383 Provincial Medical Services doctors.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2006 01:24 IST
Hindustantimes
         

QUACKS ARE the lifeline of health services in Uttar Pradesh. If this has shocked you, here’s why.

The Health Department record states that the number of unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners in the State is 32,245 as against 12,383 Provincial Medical Services doctors.

And if the State Government had recently recruited 1293 doctors to augment the frail health service, Health Department officials admit that the number of quacks is rising at an even faster pace. This is happening at a time when the Supreme Court has ordered that quackery should be checked.

Health department insiders say, “Quacks are thriving with protection from politicians and local health officials. Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) also turn a blind eye to the unethical practice”. 

In June last, the Medical Health Department had directed the CMOs to identify unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners and initiate legal proceedings against them.

In a special drive, 32,245 quacks were identified. The bosses were informed that legal proceedings had been initiated against 8,486 quacks.

But senior officials smelt a rat in the drive. The data on quacks dispatched by CMOs exposed the nexus between district officials and quacks.

In some districts the number of the quacks ran into thousands, while in others it was in double figures. Etah had 1085 quacks, Kanpur Nagar 1187, Kushinagar 885, Meerut 1269, Mathura 673, Agra 1085, Jaunpur 1153, Azamgarh 4620, Mau 1052 and Moradabad 1528.

On the other hand, only 10 quacks were identified in Siddharthnagar, 26 in Auraiya, 76 in Kannauj, 21 in Chitrakoot, 68 in Hathras, 73 in Banda and 37 in Rampur.

Peeved at the slackness of the CMOs, director medical care Dr MP Bansal directed them to make physical verification of quacks active in the districts.

Dr Bansal wondered, “How come in one district there are thousands of quacks, while in another there are just 10?”

But there was more surprise in store for Dr Bansal when he received fresh reports from the districts in August. After tabulating the reports, it was found that the number of quacks had reduced from 32,245 to 22,825! Even the FIRs lodged against them were down to 6,564 from 8,486 in June. So, where had the quacks gone? During investigation it was found that CMOs were not interested in the drive against unqualified and unregistered medical practitioners. Even FIRs were not being lodged against quacks.

A senior Health Department official told HT that the fault lay in the rules constituted to check quacks from running clinics. “As per the rule, the FIR against a quack is to be lodged in the name of the person holding the CMO’s post. So, whenever the case comes up for hearing, the doctor, even if he is posted in another district or promoted to a higher post, has to appear in the court. To save themselves from court appearances, the CMOs didn’t take much interest in the drive against quacks,” he added.  However, other officers held the nexus between CMOs and quacks for the drive’s failure. “Quacks work as delivery men, ferrying patients from the remote areas to private clinics in the cities. Along with money they get protection from local officials,” they said.