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Lagos doctors request anti-quackery law

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Doctors under the Medical Guild have called on the Lagos State government to come up with an anti-quackery law to check the activities of quacks in the medical profession and to protect the lives of patients.

Medical Guild is an association of all Lagos State Government employed medical and dental practitioners.

The association said some patients have been killed as a result of the activities of quacks in the system while some are suffering from complications of quackery.

The Chairman of the Medical Guild, Dr. Sa’eid Ahmad, disclosed this during an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, lamenting that a lot of people that have no business in the medical profession were working in the hospitals.

Ahmad said having an anti-quackery law in place would provide appropriate punishment and sanction for quacks in the system and also serve as a deterrent to those who want to go into quackery.

He said, “We need to do more to protect our people. We don’t have enough medical practitioners and that seems to provide open space to give room for quackery.

“The anti-quackery law has become inevitable. Quackery manifests in various forms. People are dying from complications of quackery.

“In our hospitals, we have seen quite several patients who have suffered the consequences of what the quacks have done and we now handle the complications created.”

He noted that quackery in the medical profession remains a danger to human lives and therefore, should be checked.

“People get maimed and killed. People are given diseases that they did not bring to the hospital through quackery. People lose bodily functions, people lose important organs of their body through quackery.

“Directly or indirectly, you have administered a piece of medication that you have no knowledge of, and that medication has serious side effects that destroy bodily organs. Complications of wrong medications and delays in bringing the patients to the hospital.

“These are some of the consequences of quackery,” she said.

Speaking further on the dangers of quackery, the physician said, “Quackery as an entity is one of those serious negative factors bedeviling adequate, correct, and effective healthcare provisions to our people.

“Quackery has constituted itself into a formidable competition for the authentic availability and accessibility of safe healthcare to our people.

“People who have no business touching medicines or patients go about parading themselves, brandishing titles that they have not earned.

“Acting beyond your scope of competence and qualification is quackery.

“For example, a health attendant who masquerades as a nurse or a nurse who parades himself or herself as a doctor.”

Continuing, he said, “Also, a junior doctor for example, who masks himself with a carriage of a professor and pretends to provide the services of the person he is impersonating would not be able to offer the patient anything but quackery.

“People who don’t even have business in or around health facilities at all who go about harming people in the name of caring for them is quackery.”

Ahmad stated that despite the various forms and ways quackery manifests in the medical profession, there was no definite law in place to punish those in into quackery.

The medical guild chairman said, “Unfortunately, having not been identified as a legal entity yet, many people who should be held accountable for the practice of quackery tend to slip away from it.

“For example, when you catch someone who is not a doctor, who has practised as a doctor, our law only can identify such entities as impersonation.

“Impersonation is not specific, is generic, and belies the gravity of the offence the person has committed. So, for these and other reasons, a specifically defined set of legal parameters in terms of law needs to be put in place to do three things.

“First, the law will serve as a deterrent to those who want to go into quackery, also the provisions of the law will provide appropriate sanctions, punishments, reprimands, or otherwise for specific offences.

“Anti-quackery law will define in specific terms what offences should carry what punishment.”

The physician also said that having anti-quackery law would protect healthcare practitioners and their practice besides preserving human life and health.

Recall that in December 2022, the Ondo State Police Command arrested one Mr. Olelekan Rabiu, a 31-year-old man allegedly parading himself as a medical doctor and Chief Medical Doctor of Iremide Private Hospital, Orita Ojo in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state.

The State Commissioner of Police, CP Oyediran Oyeyemi, said that the suspect was on December 20 arrested by a team of the Special Intervention Squad when a report of unprofessionalism was reported against him.

The CP said that the suspect carried out a caesarian surgery on a pregnant woman (name withheld) who was later rushed to Mother and Child Hospital due to excessive bleeding from her private part.

“It was discovered that the self-acclaimed doctor stitched the womb and the urinary tract together.

“During the investigation, it was discovered that the suspect is not a medical doctor, but attended the School of Health Technology, Ijebu-Ode, where he studied as a Community Health Extension Worker.

“And he has been deceiving the people with being a Medical Doctor,” he said.

Similarly, fake surgeons were in September 2022 arrested in Cross River State for performing surgeries in Ogoja LGA of the state.

This was disclosed at a news conference by Dr. David Ushie, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Health Matters and the Chairman of the Cross River State Task Force on Quackery and Related Violations in the Healthcare Delivery System.

He said the task force got information about the illegal activities of the fake doctors at the Aladim community in Ogoja LGA, stormed the community, and arrested the suspects.



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