HAFIZABAD - The menace of quackery both in the rural and urban areas of the district has been increasing day by day alarmingly, partly due to the alleged connivance of some health department officials and public representatives and partly due to the fact that poor cannot afford visiting qualified doctors who charge exorbitantly.

A survey conducted by The Nation revealed that the condition in rural areas was worst and quacks were working with 'apparent' impunity, though the health department officials claimed to have taken drastic measures against the quackery, they (quacks) were being causing colossal damage to public health through the prescription of fake medicines and fictitious injections including smuggled Indian medicines.

Another phenomenon, which came to fore during the survey is the referral of patients to private hospitals/clinics by the doctors in government hospitals, with solely aims at minting money.

The survey also pointed out that there were at least 500 quacks running their clinics in the district without any let or hindrance and more than a dozen in-service doctors have established their own hospitals and they evinced little interest in treating their patients.

The condition in Rural Health Centres and Basic Health Units is deteriorated further because doctors usually visit these centres for a day or two in a week and return back to cities where they have setup their own clinics to earn more money.

On the other hand, the Health Department has turned blind eye and deaf ear to the harsh economic realities of the majority of poor patients. These serious issues need to be addressed by the authorities concerned on war-footing as these not only affecting the poor mainly and drastically but also weakening the masses trust in the government-run healthcare dispensation.

Moreover, there has been acute shortage of doctors in the DHQ Hospital Hafizabad and THQ Pindi Bhattian. Only 18 doctors are working in the DHQ Hospital against the sanctioned strength of 104 doctors.

It is irony of fate that there is no Heart Specialist and Eye Surgeon in DHQ Hospital which is catering to more than one million patients. Most of the heart patients are being referred to Lahore or Faisalabad and most of them die before reaching their destination.

The building of the Trauma Centre, which was started few years back, has been completed but neither the staff nor necessary Labs and apparatuses have been supplied but could be made functional so far. Though the government has been providing considerable funds for provision of medicines to patients free of cost, the poor patients have to run from pillar to the post to get these medicines.

According to a reputed retired Medical Superintendent, private practice and establishment of hospitals by in-service doctors should be completely prohibited to affectively check the menace of quackery and to provide best possible healthcare to the patients in the government hospitals.