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Opinions Wed, 1 Jun 2016

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Quack doctors in town

Learning that a quack doctor practised medicine in the nation’s capital for 20 years prompts questions about the effectiveness of the medical profession’s regulatory authority vis-à-vis the safety of the average Ghanaian.

Even more worrying and scary is the fact that there could be others brandishing the stethoscope in both Accra and in the hinterlands as doctors.

Most people won’t bother to find out whether the man they are consulting is a real doctor or not: after all, he has an array of tools of the trade neatly arranged on his desk in the consulting room.

Such persons are either not inquisitive or simply think erroneously that since there is a regulatory authority responsible for ensuring that those who profess to be doctors are really medical officers, there is nothing to be apprehensive about. For them, it is not possible for persons who are not doctors to present themselves as such. Now they can appreciate their blunder of many years standing.

Only heavens know how many innocent persons have suffered adversely the effects of being treated by these quacks.

Two stories about quack doctors made the headlines yesterday: perhaps Adams Arimeyaw who ran a clinic in a compound house for many years at Madina outshined his colleague Collins Avorgbedor who is said to have operated as a doctor for the past one year.

Dr Eli Atikpui, Registrar of the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, and his team played a crucial role in nabbing the said Adams Arimeyaw. But the question as to why the suspect could operate in the nation’s capital for so long without being detected until now begs for an answer. Members of the public should share the blame for the ability of the quack doctor to practise for so long without coming under the radar of the regulatory authority.

We would not be wrong in pointing at a level of inefficiency in the policing segment of the Council’s mandate. When such an important regulatory authority fails in its duties, the repercussions can be disastrous. All manner of crooks can purchase stethoscopes, organise compound houses as clinics and use kettles to sterilise their equipment, cashing in on the slumber of the Council.

We have observed a timetable of sorts about fishing out quack doctors by the Council. We think that such an important exercise should be devoid of a timeline. Members of the public should be encouraged to call the attention of the Council when they feel uncomfortable about the quality of a clinic or its personnel. After all, this is about life and death.

We cannot afford to allow such quacks to operate in the country as if the law had not made provision for the regulation of medical practice.

The danger in the administration of pharmaceutical drugs by unqualified persons is too obvious for quacks to be allowed to undertake it.

Many more quack doctors are in town, we bet. All Ghanaians and others should support the Ghana Medical and Dental Council to fish out such fraudsters from the system.

Columnist: Daily Guide

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