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Eye on votes, Bihar parties back quacks’ demand for govt recognition

A demand by quacks in Bihar for an honorarium and official sanction to practise has turned into a political issue with all parties in Bihar keen to secure support of a community that enjoys tremendous respect and following in the state’s rural areas where medical care is poor and difficult to access.

patna Updated: Nov 03, 2018 15:10 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar,quack,medical care
The national institute of open schooling (NIOS) has last year launched training programme for quacks, known formally as rural medical practitioners, in collaboration with the state health department to apprise them of the basics of medical practice. (Picture for representation)

A demand by quacks in Bihar for an honorarium and official sanction to practise has turned into a political issue with all parties in Bihar keen to secure support of a community that enjoys tremendous respect and following in the state’s rural areas where medical care is poor and difficult to access.

Ruling Janata Dal (United) general secretary RCP Singh told a recent meeting of party’s medical wing that he would urge chief minister Nitish Kumar to look into the quacks’ demand for honorarium and formal recognition.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and agriculture minister Prem Kumar also justified roping in rural medical practitioners. “Their numbers are huge and they are serving the people in areas so far untouched by medical facilities. The government should work out any mutually solution in larger social interest,” said Kumar.

The national institute of open schooling (NIOS) has last year launched training programme for quacks, known formally as rural medical practitioners, in collaboration with the state health department to apprise them of the basics of medical practice.

But the quacks demand an honorarium and sanction to practise in rural areas. Principal secretary (health) Sanjay Kumar, said the state government had no immediate plan of offering any honorarium to the quacks or allowing them to practice in rural areas.

At least 50,000 quacks have flourished in Bihar, the NIOS estimates, and official data says at least half of all positions for doctors at government hospitals in the state are vacant.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has also backed the quacks’ demand. “The government should look into the scope of using them for betterment of health facilities and pay them for their service,” said RJD MLA Bhai Birendra.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 15:10 IST