It is appalling that a man claiming to be a doctor reportedly tried to treat his patient with injections meant for animals.
The victim, who had consulted the 'doctor' at his 'clinic' in Hyderabad, escaped death thanks to his timely decision to go to hospital when his condition deteriorated. This incident calls for immediate investigation. It is clear that our public health delivery services remain in a shambles, which is why one can hardly blame the people, especially the poor, for turning to anyone who promises relief. We do not know if the doctor who allegedly injected the wrong drugs was a quack or a graduate of one of the mushrooming medical colleges in the country. But clearly he did not have sufficient medical knowledge and had absolutely no qualms about putting his patient's life at risk.
The tragedy of our health system is that the government's failure to cater to the needs of the people has led to quacks and untrained people filling the vacuum. In the absence of well-trained health professionals and a network of medical facilities, quacks pose as healers and dupe sick people into agreeing to risky 'medical' treatment. Some years ago, the Pakistan Medical Association gave the number of quacks in Pakistan as 600,000, with some 70,000 operating in Karachi alone. There may well be more today. The problem with this unregulated practice of healthcare is that its practitioners not only fail to provide relief to a sick man. In many cases they actually kill him or contribute to the spread of diseases like hepatitis C because of the use of infected syringes. It is time the authorities cracked down on quacks who can easily be traced. There is also a need to create public awareness about the health risks incurred when people visit quacks.