My Notes On Medical Quackery In Nigeria

The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA has a duty to comment on matters in which the medical profession may be brought to disrepute and ridicule....especially considering the low opinion of doctors at the moment!

This disgusting docility and absolute lack of administrative competence is another pointer to the fact that medical associations in Nigeria are irresponsible fee-collecting entities!

Unfortunately, it is doctors in private practice who relentlessly frustrate every government effort to flush quackery out of medical practice. In my younger days, senior colleagues were using house officers to run night shifts. Later they reduced the bar to qualified male nurses. Then Community Health Officers.

Now, they've gone as low as using male auxiliaries to front in their private clinics as doctors. My usual advice to people in new locales is: Go to the nearest government hospital. Staff there may be short of number and temper...but you'd be certain they are qualified! Government unlike crooked private doctors would not intentionally employ quack doctors into the civil service.

I detest medical quackery and malpractice with a passion...and that I do not defend bad doctors as insinuated by Monday Ubani on his attention-seeking radio program.

I was in fact once the inaugural secretary of the Quackery Committee of the Lagos Branch of AGPMPN while representing Ikorodu on same committee as I simultaneously served as the Secretary for Ikorodu branch! During my tenures, I did extensive research on medical quackery, wrote a thesis I presented to the then provost of the College of Medicine University of Lagos on pretext of asking him to write the foreword.

I merely wanted him to know how deemphasized affective domains of learning in medical training was producing criminal doctors...and that criminal tendencies among doctors would be best addressed during training!

I sought audience with Professor Lekan Abudu ...the provost then...and spoke extensively with him on this matter. I was obsessed with all these while my mates were busy chasing money.

I arrived at the conclusion that private doctors were extensively criminal and were the sole cause of medical quackery and presented the said thesis to Dr Remi Desalu....a former classmate.... for onward transmission to Governor Tinubu.

Desalu was then a Director in Lagos State ministry of health. I continued to pester him for such improvements in health sector when he became the Permanent Secretary....rather than harass him for contracts!

Of course, such actions must have contributed to the formation of HEFAMAA.

I predicted then....20 years ago...that private doctors would ultimately self-destruct private practice at the rate they were going!

As they destroy patients' lives.....
When a patient sees through medical fraud as he declares on national tv that doctors suggest spurious surgeries just to make money and your next patient doubts your sincerity next time you suggest an operation, the inequities of a few have rubbed off on all.

When a patient detects that you permit male auxiliaries to perform major surgeries in your hospital, do you think that odium would be confined to your clinic?

I used to yell 20 years ago that qualified male nurses were employed to front as doctors and fraudulently assisted to register private clinics and front as doctors.

I never knew things would become as bad as this!
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.

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Articles by Tosin Akindele