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Ombudsman seeks report on anti-quackery steps

September 12, 2013

LAHORE, Sept 11: Punjab Ombudsman Javed Mahmood has taken a serious note of the news item mentioning that quacks were doing business openly in the province and playing with patients’ lives in the name of medical treatment.

According to media reports, as many as 15,000 quacks are working in the province.

The ombudsman directed the Punjab health secretary to submit a comprehensive report on anti-quackery steps and strategy evolved by his department within a period of ten days, a handout said on Wednesday.

In a letter ombudsman’s health advisor Rana Amanullah Khan reminded the secretary that the ombudsman had written a letter to him on April 15, 2013 on the issue that was not responded.

It said the ombudsman’s office, since its inception in 1997, had been recommending through its annual reports enactment of a law for banning quackery in all forms.

The 2002 annual report mentioned the role of quacks in spreading diseases like hepatitis, Aids etc, stressing the need for health department’s effective intervention to curb the menace of quackery.

Rampant and false claims of quacks, advertised in newspapers and electronic media, had been pinpointed in the report of 2005 that also sought counter measures and the promulgation of an adequate law without delay. The 2006 report also highlighted the issue, recommending steps to educate the public in this regard.

In 2007 report, the ombudsman’s office had sought directions for drug inspectors to submit a quarterly certificate to the district officer (Health) concerned to the effect that no quack was operating in their respective jurisdictions.

Similarly, the letter mentioned that the 2009 report also proposed that health department should form a board comprising competent doctors for enquiring into complaints of malpractices by medical professionals, seeking an accountability mechanism to check them.

It mentioned that although the purpose of promulgation of Punjab Health Commission Act 2010 was to improve the quality of healthcare services and to ban quackery in all its forms, the department failed to implement the same.

It said the health department had not taken the ombudsman’s recommendations seriously and resultantly quacks and doctors holding fake degrees are practicing in every nook and corner of the province, playing with the lives of the innocent people in the name of medical treatment.