Hyderabad: Angry with the encouragement being provided to quacks and attempts being made to train them, the Telangana Junior Doctors’ Association has threatened to take up the matter with the Union health ministry.
Quacks, Rural Medical Practitioners (RMPs) and Private Medical Practitioners (PMPs) work in rural areas as “doctors” and prescribe medicines even though they are not qualified by the requisite degree to do so.
RMPs and PMPs have rudimentary medical knowledge picked up here and there, but that is not enough to ensure a patient’s safety.
Union health minister J.P. Nadda has written to Chief Ministers of state governments, including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state, requesting them to take appropriate action and corrective steps under the law against quacks and also evolve suitable policies to ensure availability of quality health workforce in the rural areas.
Chairman of the Telangana Junior Doctors Association P.S. Vijayendra Goud, told this newspaper, “The Telangana Medical Council too has failed to take action against them. There was a recent meeting of RMPs and PMPs (with the state health authorities) and they were promised recognition, which has angered the junior doctors. Junior doctors who are now passing out and going back to their villages to practice are having a hard time as they are not able to practice good medicine.”
Dr Shyam Sundar, president of the Indian Medical Association, said that quacks give the same old medicines most of which are now not being used. “Irrational prescription of medicines without diagnosis is a major problem. Medicine gives only temporary relief. The side-effects and adverse effects of antibiotics are very high. We find patients’ response to medication in the organised sector to take quite some time.”
While the IMA has organised camps in villages numerous times, the warning about quacks has not reached the people. This is because such unqualified people are the first point of contact for rural folk during an emergency or for any ailment. Quackery has survived because of the shortage of doctors. But now there are 45,000 registered MBBS doctors in TS.
Most of these junior doctors want to go back to the public health centres and community centres in the public health system and practice, but there has been no recruitment, which forces them to stay in cities.
Dr Srinivas Goud, a junior doctor studying paediatrics, explained, “It is not that doctors do not want to go to rural areas. It is the environment over there that does not allow them to practise. There is no support from the community and even the government. Hence most of them are scared.”
Some have tried and come back to the city, like Dr Hari Raju, a paediatrician.
“I wanted to set up my own practice in the interiors of Warangal district. I set up a clinic at home and lots of patients came to my clinic. For three months the word spread around and I had people coming in day and night. I wanted to set up a bigger unit seeing the response in the small town. But in one unfortunate case, there was a side-effect of the medicine, and I had people abusing me. Later I found out that it was orchestrated by the RMPs who didn’t want me to establish the practice. After that one incident there were continuous complaints and threats. I got fed up and came back to the city to practice,” Dr Raju said.