Bauchi, Gombe and Jigawa governments have adopted proactive regulations and monitoring mechanisms to end medical quackery to fasttrack quality healthcare service delivery.
Officials of health agencies and other stakeholders said the measure was imperative to sanitise medical profession, end malpractices and safeguard public health in the respective states.
The health experts spoke in separate interviews in Bauchi, Gombe and Dutse while responding to a survey on monitoring and regulation of health facilities by government agencies.
They defined quackery as the practices involving false knowledge of a particular field. Quacks are found among doctors, nurses and other health personnel.
According to the experts, quackery is one of the major problems bedeviling the Nigeria’s health sector in spite of its negative consequences.
They listed some of the negative impacts to include increase maternal and childhood mortality; increase unemployment rate of registered nurses and midwifery, discredit medical and nursing education, poor treatment outcome and weakened healthcare system.
To address the menace, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Bauchi State, constituted an anti-quackery committee to enhance monitoring of public and private clinics.
The NMA’s Secretary, Dr Abdullahi Kabir, said the measure would enhance access to quality healthcare service delivery at the grassroots.
He said the committee was mandated to investigate alleged malpractices and report to the state Ministry of Health for appropriate action.
“The association set up a sub committee saddled with the responsibility to seek public and staff opinion on the operations of private clinics.
“In the event of suspected malpractices or compromise in the services rendered, the committee will investigate and notify the Ministry of Health on the matter.
“The ministry, NMA or the Dental Council will take action. NMA plays an advisory role in monitoring private health facilities,” he said.
Kabir warned that erring members of the association found wanton in the course of monitoring or investigation would be sanctioned.
In Gombe, the state government said it only certified registered and licensed medical workers to operate, according to Dr Arnold Abel, Director Medical Services in the state Ministry of Health.
This, he said, was part of proactive measures adopted towards achieving quality healthcare service delivery through sound regulations and monitoring.
He, however, said that state governments were not expected to regulate training and practice of medicine, rather they only construct, equip and provide the requisite manpower needed for health facilities.
“The Gombe government adopted measures to ensure compliance in terms of licensing of medical officers.
“The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) only regulates the training and practice of medicine in Nigeria, but doesn’t have any role whatsoever in the establishment of hospitals.
“However, all doctors practising in the state must renew their licences every year before being granted licences to practice.
“Other health professionals are also required to be licensed by their appropriate regulatory bodies.
“Regulations are necessary for standardisation and supervision to ensure that healthcare bodies and facilities comply with public health policies to enable them to provide safe care to all patients in the health system,” he said.
According to Abel, the Private Hospitals Registration and Regulatory Authority (PHRRA) under the Director of Medical Services of the ministry is statutorily responsible for inspecting and granting licences for new private hospitals.
The hospitals, he said, are required to pay the necessary registration fees to the government.
“The PHRRA visits hospitals annually to ensure that they practice in conformity to the laid down regulations, and the Authority has the powers to sanction erring private facilities through suspension and even outright permanent closure (revoke licences).”
In the same vein; the Jigawa Maternal Accountability Forum (JiMAF), has stepped up surveillance activities to enhance accountability and quality service delivery in health facilities in the state.
The JiMAF’s Evidence Committee Secretary, Alhaji Isa Mustafa, said the forum established Word Development Committees (WDCs) across the 287 wards, to monitor operations of health facilities across the state.
JiMAF comprises representatives of the civil society organisations, media, development partners and the public sector.
Similarly, the state governor, Umar Namadi during a recent visit to the General Hospital, Dutse, frown at the unbecoming behaviour of some health workers allegedly found selling free drugs meant for women and children.
He said the action sabotaged government’s policy on free healthcare for children and lactating mothers.
The governor, who expressed dismay over the poor state of the facility, directed for adequate monitoring and supervision of all health facilities to enhance quality healthcare service delivery in the state.