BY; Bala B. Bitrus, Minna.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state has tasked professionals in medical healthcare sector in Nigeria to assist in flushing out all such persons who are not professionals but are masquerading as medical Doctors thus dragging the image of the profession into mud and disrepute.
He noted that the activities of such criminals hooded in the stolen garbs of medical professionals must be identified and fished out to check the increasing rates of quackery, death, pains and sufferings by innocent and unsuspecting members of the public.
Governor Bello said the call for action had become necessary in view of the increasing number of deaths and damages resulting from wrong diagnosis of ailments and wrong prescriptions of medications especially to pregnant women, infants and the unlettered persons by such unlicensed practitioners in the health sector.
Governor Bello made the observation when he hosted the national executives of the Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Nigeria, (SOGoN) who were in his office at the weekend. The executives were led by Prof. Joseph Biran Adinma, President of the SOGoN.
The Governor noted that cases of wrong diagnosis of ailments and treatment by some Nigerian Doctors and health workers in general were on the rise just as he adduced reasons why medical tourism by Nigerians have continued to thrive despite government’s efforts to discourage such trips.He cautioned that the Nigerian “medical healthcare environment was fast losing relevance and patronage because the health sector in Nigeria was being polluted by fake and unlicensed practitioners whose combined activities were a huge dent on the profession and the sector.
“Wrong diagnoses of either ailments or medications have been causing adverse effects and damages to hapless and helpless persons for no fault of their own. Many people have died or have had their health conditions worsened by the activities of quacks, untrained and unlicensed healthcare practitioners” he noted bitterly.
Victims of such wrong and fake diagnosis he said often end up seeking for second opinion from where they are told that they were initially wrongly diagnosed and because of that, they end up spendibg more of their hard earned resources to correct the wrong with many forced to experience and go through debilitating, life threatening pains.Governor Bello recalled the sad story of a man who was wrongly diagnised of being diabetic. He was placed on treatment without improvement. However another test elsewhere showed entirely a different ailment leaving the man to live with adverse drug reactions.
“This case in point was a very big minus for the Nigerian health sector” the Governor said. He lamented that “many people have continued to be victims of such costly mistakes but warned that such ugly and unhealthy trends must be checked to save humanity and the image of the sectors from the hands of hawks and predators who have infiltrated the healthcare sector.
The Governor called on the regulatory bodies within the health sector including the medical and dental units and the likes to rise up for the fight against quacks.
The Governor noted that in some climes, when a pregnant woman dies, several investigations are conducted to unravel the cause of her death. “But in Nigeria, we hurriedly prepare the corpse for burial and move on as if nothing had happened”.
“As civilised people, things cannot continue like this” The professional associations must be in the forefront in checking the ugly trend” he charged. He therefore urged the professionals in medical and health sector to rise in defence of the integrity of the profession to restore public confidence in it.
Governor Bello urged members of the SOGoN to help champion the crusade to end avoidable deaths caused by tactless and careless human errors by ensuring best global practices in the health sector.
He argued that once the Nigerian medical space is guaranteed, Nigerians would be discouraged from traveling abroad for medical treatments.
He enlisted the support of the SOGoN to collaborate with the state government in capacity building of health workers particularly at the Primary Healthcare Centres as part of his administration’s commitment to put in place improved healthcare delivery system across the state.National President of the SOGON, Prof. Adinma expressed the association’s readiness to assist the state in capacity building of its health workers to meet the administration’s aspirations to improve on service delivery in line with global best practices.Prof. Adinma commended the wife of the state Governor, Dr. Amina Sani Bello who is a member of the SOGoN for her selfless services offering free medical services including consultations and surgeries to patients. He pledged the support of his association to ensure quality services at the Primary Health Care centres in all parts of the state.