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Will the Govt. crack down on quacks?

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, JUNE 22. Will the district administration crack down on quacks masquerading as qualified doctors following complaints by the anti-quackery cell of the Indian Medical Council? The question assumes significance as the anti-quackery cell has been bombarding the authorities with complaints on a daily basis indicating the seriousness of the problem.

The district unit of the anti-quackery cell has, in a press release, pointed out that the economic cost and medical expenditure borne by society as a result of the dubious practice is mind-boggling and would have a debilitating impact on society in the long run.

Shankar Somayaji, Convenor, anti-quackery cell, has said that there were at least 100,000 quacks in the State against 60,000 doctors registered by the Karnataka Medical Council.

In the district, the number of quacks was on the rise and there were about 5,000 quacks. In small towns for instance, quacks did roaring business claiming to have cure for almost all diseases.

It was pointed out that in KR Nagar for instance, there were about 50 quacks and none of them knew the basics of the modern system of medicine. Most used un-sterilised syringes and needles that could cause infection and spread diseases such as Hepatitis-B and AIDS.

Similarly, the quacks were said to be causing environmental pollution by their inability to dispose of biomedical wastes in a scientific and authorised manner.

Life saving dugs, antibiotics and steroids were recklessly administered to patients lowering their body resistance leading to a gradual collapse of the immunity system.

Dr. Somayaji said that all national programmes launched to eradicate diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera had become ineffective because of the proliferation of quacks.

Drawing attention to the presence of quacks in Hunsur, Dr. Somayaji said the situation was not any better there. Recently a complaint had been made against a private practitioner seeking an inquiry and action.

Likewise, there were about 500 quacks in Heggadadevankote taluk and the anti-quackery cell had submitted a complaint to the Deputy Commissioner to crack down on them. The anti-quackery cell had appealed to the Government to enact the "Quackery Prohibition Act'' and constitute an "anti-quackery raid party'' and empower it with powers to deal with quacks.

The Chairman of the Health Task Force, H. Sudarshan, has made a similar demand, according to Dr. Somayaji.

He has appealed to the Deputy Commissioner, Kumar G. Naik, to initiate an inquiry into the business of quacks and authorise the Superintendent of Police to curb the activities of quacks with an iron hand. "While a qualified doctor with years of experience was governed by laws and was accountable to the public and society at large, the quacks have no qualification nor were they accountable to any one,'' Dr. Somayaji observed.

The public was also cautioned about doctors who moved from city to city and advertised in local papers about their stay in hotels and lodges. These advertising and travelling quacks claimed to have cure for a variety of diseases related to impotency, cancer, epilepsy, paralysis, rheumatism and others for which even qualified doctors did not make such claims, Dr. Somayaji said.

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