By Steve Oko
It was a bad day Thursday, for quack doctors in Aba the commercial capital of Abia State Thursday, as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), raided their clinics in various parts of the city.
A number of the quacks were arrested during the raid and handed over to the security agencies for prosecution.
The Chairman, NMA Committee on Discipline, Medical Ethics and Quackery, Dr Eze Eze who led the taskforce, while addressing newsmen, said the clampdown had become necessary following reports of the preponderance of quacks in the medical profession in Aba.
He regretted the harm being done to the medical profession as well as unsuspecting members of society by the quacks.
Dr Eze noted that for a very long time, Aba had become “a free for all place for anybody to come and practice without any form of monitoring”.
He, therefore, vowed that the NMA had decided to go after the quacks and put a stop to their anti-people activities.
” It will no longer be business as usual as we have taken the bull by the horns to save lives by clamping down on such places. The perpetrators will be prosecuted according to the law.”
The NMA taskforce leader regretted that a number of lives had been lost due to the activities of quacks.
“A lot of maternities here deliver babies and do surgery and when there’s a problem that requires oxygen they cannot afford it and the person will die. “
“Those who have tooth problems here will go to quacks to remove their teeth and in the process of doing so, they’ll die there while others have sustained infections that led to their deaths two to three weeks later.”
Dr Eze who noted that it took painstaking efforts to identify the clinics operated by quacks, warned those still operating illegal clinics or maternities to desist or brace up for the worse.
“They employ other quacks and groom their relatives to keep expanding. So, what we’re doing now is that when we get any of them, we arrest and hand them over to the police for proper prosecution.
“They must tell us their details and how they got registered as doctors and the limits of their practice. By law, nobody should open a hospital without a certified doctor who took an oath of office and who will be liable to man the place
“For the last three weeks, since I’ve been appointed because I’ve not been based in Nigeria for a long time. Although when I was here initially as at 1999 I started looking into this. I later travelled and returned a few years ago,” he said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Dental Association (NDA), has said that 95% of places known as dental service clinics in Aba are managed by quacks who never received any form of medical training.
Chairman of NDA, Abia State, Dr Innocent Iwegbu, said that the clamp down on the quacks was to reduce the casualty rate arising from activities of quacks.
He regretted that lives are lost on weekly basis because of quacks, describing Aba as the headquarters of quacks.
“Aba is their headquarters because it’s a bigger city than other parts of the state. It’s on record that 95% of so-called dental service clinics in Aba are all quacks that’s why we see it fit as a duty we owe our people to save them from these quacks.
“Weekly, I’ve been receiving complaints from patients that have been messed up by these quacks here in Aba in particular so we felt that we owe the populace the duty of warning them and clamping down on those that are involved.
“Some of them have been identified and when I discovered some of them when I got their numbers I called them to desist from what they are doing here in Aba, but they refused some I’ve not been able to see them so we have decided to launch an attack on them to save Aba people who are still alive as many have died from the hands of these quacks and we’re here to end it.”
He vowed that the days of quacks in the medical profession in Abia were numbered, hinting that the clampdown will be extended to other parts of the state.
Speaking with Vanguard, former NMA Secretary, Abia State, Dr Ken Ngwaogwu said that “many people who claim to be doctors in Aba did not undergo any form of medical training.”
He decried the activities of quacks which he said bring bad image to the medical profession.
“Our people are not getting the best services and the image of our profession is being dragged to the mould. Some of them never passed through the four walls of any University.”
Speaking also,a member of NMA Discipline Medical Ethics and Quackery, Dr Godwin Nkworcha, said it was high time the charlatans who claim to be doctors realized that “they cannot continue to take lives as they want in the name of doing business.”
“How can people who didn’t pass through any medical school be answering doctors, they can be very dangerous to society. Before are believing them more because they’re busy advertising their services the way it should not be,” he said.
Vanguard reports that too many quack dental clinics were shut down with their owners arrested and their signposts pulled down by the team accompanied by a police team from the Aba Area Command.