Opinion: The menace of Lagos street ‘doctors’

 

She was asked to be on a scan machine after paying the fees.The test revealed to her that she had long-standing diabetes, a crack in the mid-brain, hypertension, venereal diseases to mention but a few.

by Adekoya Abimbola

The problems of Lagos doctors who just ended a long-drawn industrial action may not allow the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Jide Idris, time to pay a serious attention to the health hazards posed by some so-called street ‘doctors’ in the state.

The street ‘doctors’ are people moving around the streets of Lagos for some time now with blood pressure apparatus and weighing machines to test people and thereafter diagnose the disease or ailment got from their investigations. They may, in some occasions, ask their victims to buy drugs from them.

The operations of these street ‘doctors’ have been on for a long time now until recently when another level of sophistication was introduced to their methods of operation. They claim to have a scanning machine that will test and reveal all the medical problems of their victims within few minutes (10 minutes) for a token of N1000.

I was in my office one morning recently, when my banker called me to confirm the result of the investigations done on her by these “street doctors” at a magnificent building in Ikeja. She was out on her routine banking marketing job before she ran into the office. She was asked to be on a scan machine after paying the fees.The test revealed to her that she had long-standing diabetes, a crack in the mid-brain, hypertension, venereal diseases to mention but a few. She was later given drugs to buy. I got interested in the case having in mind the words of Martin Fischer that, “Diagnosis is not the end but the beginning of medical practice.”

I invited her to our centre with a view to confirming the least of her ‘problems,’ the diabetes. Her blood was collected for fasting blood sugar that gave 100mg/dl, which is normal blood sugar level. Many other people kept calling me thereafter to ask if we have a machine that can scan through their body.

Furthermore, on the following Sunday, my pastor narrated his own ordeal in the hands of the street “doctors”. The representative of the group gave him her business card and the back of this card contains the diseases their scan machine will detect and cure. These include: Diabetes type 1and 2; low sperm count; strokes; infertility; impotence; T.B; arthritis; rheumatism, heart problems; late and painful menstruation, fibroid, venereal diseases, epilepsy, piles, waist pain, asthma, cancer, kidney/liver/lung problem among others. At the end of the card was a small inscription “Except AIDS, every other ailment is curable with guarantee. A try will change your entire life”

For the purpose of education and enlightenment, I wish to inform our people that as far as science stands today, there is no single machine that will reveal all ailments at a go or the level of sugar without using blood or urine. Besides, nobody can diagnose low sperm count without sperm/semen. Tuberculosis is not diagnosed until sputum test (ZN stain) or X-ray investigations are done.

Fallopian tubes blockage or fibroids in the womb or a crack in the brain are not detected by mere physical examination. Is it not criminal to diagnose a crack in the brain of an active banker who has not mistakenly given out money without recourse to CT scan? All these examinations are performed by specialists with different machines and methods.

Lagos residents should remember the words from the book of Hosea 4:6 in the Holy Bible that “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”. They should stop patronising these street “doctors” and take their health problems to government and private health providers for proper diagnoses and treatment.

The Lagos State government through the office of the Health Commissioner should rise up to define the position of these drugs vendors who now constitute themselves to health institutions. The Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency should put their beam light on the activities of these agents who have shown to be ignorant in both scientific and medical procedures.If the HEFEMAA can rid the state of quacks in the health sector, then the days of street “doctors” are numbered.

 

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

This story was originally produced by the Punch newspaper

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