Health authority launches anti-quackery drive

Quacks thrive in open and organised clinics at the cost of human health

Jamil Mirza April 14, 2024


The District Health Authority (DHA) has swung into action against mushroom growth of quacks on footpaths, roads and streets, and in neighbourhoods of the city and the rest of the district.

These quacks are seen treating eye, tooth, nose, ear, throat, stomach, liver and kidney diseases at the cost of human health. And often uneducated and less-educated segment of society falls prey to these unqualified medical practitioners and so-called herbalists.

The visitors are generally unaware that the quacks don't cure the illness properly and the latter become victims of even more dangerous diseases due to hazardous treatment, non-sterilised instruments, and consumption of spurious medicines. The quakes treat eyes with traditional medical substances, leading to acute infections like visual impairment. Similarly, in the treatment of teeth, the use of non-sterilised equipment and chemicals for cleaning and placing new teeth could expose the patient to the risk of contracting hepatitis.

Similarly, the quacks remove wax from the ears, resulting in the person experiencing heightened sensitivity to sound due to the direct exposure of the ear canal. This heightened sensitivity to sound leads to noise in the ear and deafness.

Such quakes are seen sitting on the footpath in front of the district headquarters hospital in Raja Bazaar, Railway Pori Bridge, Jamia Masjid Road, Saddar Koila Centre, Kabari Bazaar and dozens of other places. They have also set up regular established clinics in the residential areas of the city and cantonment to fleece patients and put their lives in danger.

The Punjab Healthcare Commission (PHC) has also not conducted any significant operation against quackery in the city as a result of which the business of these quacks continues to thrive and those who seek treatment from them become victims of deadly diseases and keep suffering in other hospitals for the rest of their lives.

These overconfident quacks also don’t hesitate to treat diseases of piles, liver and skin through fake medicines. They attract customers with persuasive conversations and display medicinal products like homemade lotions and shining teeth covers. Through their persuasive techniques, these quacks treat patients of teeth, nose and ears quickly and sell the same medicine to the family members of their visitors.

According to health experts, kidney and liver diseases are treated so that the patient's kidneys stop functioning and the liver becomes ineffective. The quacks usually use [unregistered] medicines and herbal powder (Phakki) to treat gastrointestinal diseases.

DHA Chief Executive Dr Ejaz Ahmad says the operations have been launched against quack doctors and practitioners in Potohar Town, Rawalpindi Cantonment, Kotli Sattian, Murree, Kallar Syedan, Kahuta, Taxila, Rawalpindi City and Gujar Khan in the first phase.

As many as 38 inspections have been conducted out of which 10 centres have been sealed and notices have been served to 10 others to initiate proceedings against them.

According to Dr Ejaz, the authority is raising awareness among citizens to avoid quacks and dangerous medical treatments and consult government hospitals in case of any illness.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2024.


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