Editor's Comment

Root out the quacks

THAT citizens could still be seeking medical attention from any Jim and Jack who professes to be a medical practitioner sounds like a Bollywood, Hollywood or indeed a Nollywood movie.

How come some Lufwanyama residents were convinced by a Congolese national that he is a medical practitioner with whom they entrusted their lives?
It is unacceptable that in this age some citizens would choose not to visit authentic medical facilities, especially public ones, which are comparatively much cheaper to access.
Why would one prefer to be seen by a private individual whose credentials they are not sure of?
Government has made huge strides in delivering medical facilities as close to the people as possible.
Several clinics and hospitals have either been built or upgraded.
Not only has Government built medical facilities but it has also employed thousands of medical personnel to ensure that citizens have quality medical care.
It is therefore mind-boggling that some citizens could still be gullible to the extent that they will fall prey to any Jim and Jack masquerading as a medical doctor and going round in communities injecting unsuspecting people with an unknown drug.
Lufwanyama may not be the only place in Zambia where non-doctors are running clinics and administering fake medicine.
Some citizens have a habit of consulting such medical practitioners and only go to public hospitals when it is too late to recover from their ailments.
This may be the case with people in Lufwanyama who were injected with unknown drugs and have now suffered boils on their buttocks.
One woman who received the jabs is admitted to Lufwanyama District Hospital after developing pustules.
People who were allegedly treated by Samson Kalala, who is currently detained at Lufwanyama District Police Station, may have long-term health complications.
This is really sad. And, unfortunately, it’s not an isolated case.
It is a very difficult scenario for the public to know and hence it is very important for the pubic to be sensitised about the need to seek medical attention from certified health facilities other than passers-by.
The Health Professionals Council of Zambia should take the lead in sensitising the public on the need for citizens to be accessing medical care from accredited medical facilities.
It is imperative for those who were treated by Mr Kalala to report themselves to the nearest public health facilities to receive remedial treatment.
It is a pity that some people are still in denial as so far, only one person has made a formal complaint to the police. Other victims should show up and give their version to the police.
They should also visit public health facilities so that the drug which was being administered is identified and appropriate action taken in good time.
Government has significantly invested in health infrastructure although there is still a lot more to be done to bring quality healthcare even closer to every citizen, regardless of where they are in the country.
Government is adding value to healthcare by providing the right personnel in the health facilities, so there is no need to think there can be better treatment from elsewhere.
Of course there is still a lot of room for improvement but in many instances the services even in their current status are by far much better than what the many quacks are providing.
It is important that these imposters are exposed and punished. The health practitioners should help in exposing these pretenders to not only ensure that they protect their profession, but to also protect the lives of patients.
There must also be a thorough probe in the operations of the numerous private clinics that have opened in many townships across the country.
The private clinics are important in supplementing services offered by public healthcare institutions. Their locations are in line with Government’s desire to bring these services to the door-steps of citizens.
These private clinics must, however, meet the standards expected of such delicate services. Zambia cannot afford to be casual about who puts the lives of people in their hands.
The Lufwanyama incident could be the tip of a much bigger problem. Let’s collectively tackle it for the sake of the lives that should never be exposed to fake medical staff.

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