LAHORE – Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood has taken notice of the news that quacks are doing their business with no fear coming their way and are playing with the lives of those approaching them for treatment.
According to media reports, as many as 15,000 quacks are working in Punjab and are thus the cause of spread of dengue explosion at various localities. The Punjab Ombudsman directed the Punjab Health secretary to submit a comprehensive report on steps/strategy designed against quackery by the Health Department within a period of 10 days.
In a letter written by Advisor (Health), the Punjab Health secretary has been reminded that the Ombudsman had already written a letter to him on April 15 on the same issue and the reply of the same was still awaited despite passage of many months. It was brought to the notice of the Health secretary that the Ombudsman Office, since its inception in 1997, was recommending through its Annual Reports for the enactment of a law for banning quackery in all forms.
In the Annual Report of 2002, ill functions of quacks in the spread of Hepatitis, Aids and other diseases were mentioned emphasizing on the Health Department and enforcement staff to effectively curb the menace of quackery. Rampant and false claims of quacks, advertised in newspapers and media, were specifically in the pinpointed in the Report 2005 stressing and reiterating counter measures, the promulgation of adequate law without undue delay. The same were re-emphasized in the next Annual Report of 2006, along with the required steps to educate general public in this regard. It was proposed that drug inspectors be directed to submit quarterly certificate to the concerned district officer (Health) to the effect that quackery was carrying should be made as having no business to do in the area of their jurisdiction.
In the Annual Report 2009, the Health Department was proposed to form a board of competent doctors for enquiring into complaints of professional malpractices. Although the purpose of promulgation of Punjab Health Commission Act 2010 was to improve the quality healthcare services and to ban quackery in all its forms, the Health Department simply failed to implement the same. The Health Department ignored the Punjab Ombudsman’s recommendations with the result that quacks and phoney doctors continued to practice in every nook and cranny of the province to the detriment of people at large, by playing with their lives in the name medical treatment says the letter.