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HomeEducation AbroadLeakage of the identity of doctor reporting quacks

Leakage of the identity of doctor reporting quacks

Serious lapse on the part of Government

A 2016 WHO report on the health workforce in India shocked everybody by stating that 57.3% of those practicing allopathic medicine did not have any medical qualification. This claim was later rubbished as “erroneous” by then Union health minister JP Nadda in the Lok Sabha. Supporting WHO’s report, the IMA claims that India has about 1 million quacks performing medicine among which 600,000 offer allopathic treatments. The National Medical Commission, along with State Councils have taken steps to educate the masses through social media campaigns on how to identify and report quacks to the regulator. The National Medical Commission has recently mandated the Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) to compulsory enroll in the National Medical Register (NMR). The basic thought process is that the patient before taking treatment from the doctor will check the NMR for the authenticity of the doctor. But the big question is “In India how many patients check the authenticity of the doctor?” The issue gets compounded when we have a look at Rural India where hardly any patient checks for the qualifications of the doctor.

Thus the onus of detecting and curbing the quack menace primarily remains with the doctors themselves. Primarily it is the conflict of interest of the RMPs with the quacks that is the driving force to get the quacks booked and eradicate them from the medical environment. Also, the RMPs are much more equipped with the knowledge to detect the quacks as compared to patients. On the other hand the Government which include the Mohfw, NMC, State Councils and the Health Ministry of State Governments have created special cells for reporting the quacks. It is also noteworthy that the quacks are notorious and form undeclared union to protect their common interest. In such a situation the role of RMPs in eradication of quacks gains importance and the government should encourage them to play active role in this campaign against the quacks.

Unfortunately, the event in Tamil Nadu is an eye opener for the entire medical fraternity. Dr. S Vignesh an MBBS doctor running a private clinic at Kalavi town took the initiative of eradicating the quacks in his locality. He collected the evidence against these quacks by collecting photographs and videos of the illegal clinics of the quacks in his locality. He showed the courage by registering the complaint against these quacks at the Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers special cell against quacks. Unfortunately rather than acting on the complaint of Dr. Vignesh against the quacks, Dr Vignesh identity was leaked to the quacks who eventually attacked and assaulted him. It is a serious issue as the identity of the whistle blower was leaked by non-other than government itself. The Medical fraternity should lodge a strong protest against the government for the leakage of the identity of Dr. Vignesh. Also the medical fraternity should demand the identification and suspension of the officials involved in leaking the identity of Dr. Vignesh. This will ensure that in future action will be taken against the quacks and the government officials will ensure that the identity of complaint is not leaked.

R.J.Singh

Advocate, Mumbai High Court