The Ondo State Government has said that it would adopt strict measures to rid the health sector of quacks to safeguard the lives of its residents.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, made this known in Akure, after a briefing by the monitoring team of the Hospital Services Department of the ministry.
Adegbenro, who expressed concern about activities of quacks, promised to bring perpetrators to book.
He said that the state government would push for maximum punishment for offenders as deterrent to those who had no value for life.
The commissioner said that the state had zero tolerance for quackery; hence the ministry would make monitoring a more regular exercise.
He appealed to residents to beware of where they go to seek medical attention as government had provided qualitative health care for the people.
Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Health, said that government would not condone quackery in the state.
Adeyeye said that there was no second chance for anybody caught trying to waste the much-valued lives of residents under any pretence.
He said that the state would seek collaboration with neighbouring states and law enforcement agencies to make sure there was no hiding place for quacks.
Dr Olayinka Akinsete, Head of the monitoring team and Director, Hospital Services Department of the ministry, said that the exercise was a routine carried out by the department to regulate medical practice.
Akinsete said that the exercise would also safeguard the lives of the people; fish out those not playing the game according to the rules; and sanction them appropriately.
He noted that the team visited Owo, Ifedore and Ose Local Government Areas of the state and apprehended a quack.
“At Uso in Owo Local Government Area, a quack, Adewale Owolanke, who had been parading himself as a medical doctor was caught.
“He was operating an illegal hospital called `Devine Hospital’ popularly called `Baba Mama Hospital’ situated behind St. Andrews Anglican Church Uso and was handed over to law enforcement agents.
“Owolanke was alleged to have operated on several of his victims who had lost their lives in the process.
“The hospital had earlier been closed but Owolanke reopened it and continued with his illicit and unlawful activities,’’ Akinsete said.
Dr Gbelela Dolani, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ondo State chapter, said that the state government should have strong political will to fight quackery in the profession.
“The reality is that there should be strong commitment from government to fight quackery because NMA cannot do it alone but work closely with government.
“So, there is need for Ministry of Health to put its feet on ground irrespective of whose ox is gored.
“Once a hospital is closed for illegal operation, such individual operating it should be charged to court,’’ Dolani said.
The NMA chairman also appealed to security agents to ensure that any person caught should be prosecuted and should not be released without the consent of the complainant.
He urged residents to patronise government hospitals for their medical needs, ask questions and complain to the appropriate authorities if not treated fairly.