The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Ebonyi State chapter, Dr. Austin Ikwudinma, has appealed to lawmakers of the state House of Assembly to urgently pass into law the “Medical Anti-Quackery Bill”, in order to stem the upsurge in maternal/child morbidity in the state.
Ikwudinma made the appeal in Abakaliki during a “Road Walk” organised by the association to sensitise the citizenry on routine immunisation, as part of activities marking its 2017 Physician Week.
He decried the increase in medical quackery in the state, stating that “medical quackery is a very serious issue. The state NMA has declared war against medical quackery, we have presented a bill to the House of Assembly since 2012 and no action is taken.
“There is no law to prosecute quacks who have infiltrated the medical profession, how can you prosecute them since there is no existing law to prosecute offenders.
“We have gone behind the scene and we are told we have not done the needful, are we going to pay anything extra apart from the one we paid earlier? When the bill is passed into law whose interest it, is it for NMA interest? Our members can never fall into the hands of quacks, it is for the poor masses”, he stressed.
Continuing, he said: “In July 2017, we clamped down on a medical outfit purportedly managed by a quack in Afikpo community of the state called “Victory Hospital” and closed the hospital, but the fake doctor escaped through the fence, the doctor was protected by the villagers.
“Government needs to act more and members of the state House of Assembly need to wake up to their responsibilities by offering quality representation, and the protection of lives of the citizenry,” he submitted.
According to him the wave of medical quackery in Ebonyi State and Nigeria in general is increasing and taking multifaceted dimension. “Today every health worker is a clinician, prescriber, and promoters of medical quackery, which poses a threat to the realisation of adequate health care delivery in the State.
He described the 23 per cent immunization coverage in the state and the country in general as unacceptable, emphasising that immunisation was a solution to the menace of killer diseases in children.
The NMA boss expressed worry over the purported rumour of injecting unapproved vaccine in children across the country, maintaining that it was difficult now to carry out any form of immunisation as parents and caregivers have opposed any form of immunisation on their children/wards.
“The danger now is that those diseases we thought that we have phased out in the country will start coming back, diptarrah, measles, malaria, and these diseases are no respecter of persons, both the poor and rich would suffer it,” he cautioned.
Ikwudinma described as abysmal the level of funding health institutions by the Federal Government, enjoining the authorities to prioritise its needs.
“If we prioritise things, why is it that our political leaders still travel abroad to seek for medical care, when that health care they are seeking for abroad can be brought down to the country. The money spent for those travels is enough to construct a cancer Centre of excellence in the country,” he declared.
The NMA boss urged the government to design job descriptions and job specifications among various health sector operators, to curb the problem the frequent rivalry among health practitioners.