Munna Bhai MBBS- the all-time popular Bollywood movie unveiled the story of a fake doctor. The movie became a blockbuster. Years have gone by now, many fraudsters emulate the lead role and act in reality as fake medicos to mislead public. The recent expose in one such case wherein one imposter practiced at a clinic as specialist doctor, is a big shocker. Is this imposter the only Munna Bhai MBBS who hoodwinked patients? This incident questions the credibility of healthcare professionals in working in private clinics.
The mushrooming of private health clinics throughout the length and breadth of the valley is on a rise. Every new shopping complex hoists signboards and advertisements with catchy phrases aimed at attracting the public. Health care professionals offer their services against consultation fee with variation on an average from Rs 100 to Rs 1000. Government has not been able to streamline the fee charged for consultation.
It is not a trivial matter, but a serious concern of failure on part of concerned authorities who are guardians and custodians of public health. as a wrecked ship of complete failure on part of the controlling and regulating bodies. If such ‘disguised doctors’ can practice right under the nose of the authorities and remain unnoticed for years, the sorry state of affairs can only be imagined.
Proceeding further and deeper the nexus with diagnostic centers and pharmacy outlets ropes in other set of imposters who are allowing such fake medicos to earn exorbitantly at the cost of common man. Some practitioners at the very outset prescribe half a dozen expensive tests as a routine, irrespective of the nature of the ailment.
No doubt such investigations are important for diagnosis. How can a common man contest the need and urgency of such costly tests? Proxy prescriptions that cost huge sum of money renders a poor patient impoverished as the hard earned money is spent on medication with the hope of getting relief. Horrendous crime of impersonation as medical doctors is unpardonable.
Innocence and ignorance of common man gets exploited by those who master the art of hoodwinking. The fancy hoardings and enticing advertisements are set out as bait to hook the gullible masses. These tactics are employed to allure people to fall in the trap. In the name of cure, the curse is hurled upon the common man by some beasts whose sole motive is to earn profit at the cost of endangering human lives. A society where culture of fake drugs and doctors will become a new norm, invitation to disaster is an unavoidable reality.
The valley has produced doctors and specialists who made a niche fro their own distinct excellence at national and international level. Such glorifying examples must become an inspiration for the young generation to make a mark in this noble profession. Contrary to this legacy, fake medical practice exemplifies an ugly blot that drags down society from glory to guilt.
All conscientious citizens in general and regulatory bodies in particular must openly condemn and denounce this malpractice and any instance of mischief must be dealt with severe punitive measures. Authorities need to be proactive to weed out all such establishments and institutions that provide a safe haven for such unscrupulous elements to play with the lives of innocent people.
Authorities must take serious cognizance of this grave matter and step in to intervene and act instantly. A mechanism of scrutiny and supervision on regular basis must be made a permanent provision to ascertain the credentials and credibility of healthcare professionals working in private clinics. Proper verification of the qualifications and experience certificates of practitioners at such clinics must be made a precondition to avoid a fake medico succeeds in acting as doctor.
Going a step further, diagnostic laboratories and testing centers that are hand and glove with clinics should also be taken to task. Verification of certified personnel as well as equipments and devices must be undertaken regularly to check irregularities.
Greed is growing and appearing in new forms. Medical quacks and impersonators are eyeing at grabbing the hard earned money of a common man. More importantly the lives of these innocent souls are at a great risk.
Health is wealth. This is an emergency call to save both health and wealth of a common man. Munna Bhais MBBS in films may be entertaining, but such shameful examples in real life are extremely dangerous.
Bilal Kaloo is Assistant Professor, Department of Education (South Campus), University of Kashmir