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Opinions of Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Columnist: Dorcas Aba Annan

Fake doctors on the rise: How best can we get rid of such quacks?

Current reports from the media confirm that the presence of fake doctors in the country is on the rise. Their illegal and evil activities have claimed the lives of many innocent and vulnerable women in the country.

These stories of fraudsters parading as doctors in Ghana are becoming more alarming and measures should be taken in place to punish or eliminate such people in the country.

In 2012, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an investigative journalist in Ghana, undertook an investigation upon which yielded in exposing the activities of one “Dr. Drah,” who was illegally operating an abortion clinic in Madina, a suburb of Accra.

Universal Mission Clinic was the name of the clinic where “Dr Drah” had been operating and it turned out that, under all the niceness that the clinic presented, his main job was conducting abortion for young ladies who visited his facility and had sex with them.

This fake doctor was caught on a hidden camera, undressing in the middle of several abortions to have unprotected sex with his victims before continuing with the procedure which largely entailed putting his hands into the lower cervix of his clients.

The case was reported to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service leading to his arrest and subsequent hauling before the court.

After the arrest of this fake doctor, the situation had rather been on the rise as most of these quacks have been arrested in 2014 leading to their illegal activities on people.

On 25th October, 2014, there was a report by Myjoyonline.com with the headline “Police arrest Tema fake doctor”. This fake medical doctor, David Asare Darku, was arrested by the Tema Police for operating without license that testifies his mandate to work as a medical doctor in Ghana.

There was another report on 29th November, 2014 by Citifmonline.com with the headline “Fake doctor arrested in Kumasi”. This fake doctor, Kwabena Boateng, presented himself to the Police as a doctor working at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and claimed to have been attacked and robbed of his Toyota Highlander with registration number GT 9843 – 14 near the Georgia Hotel in Kumasi.

There was another report from Daily Graphic on 3rd December, 2014, concerning the arrest of another young man pretending to be a doctor. The suspect, William Marfo, was recently released from the Nsawam Medium Security Prison where he had served an 18-month prison term for duping taxi drivers.

The ex-convict, 34-year-old, was seen in the Amenti Ward of the hospital in a doctor’s apparel and upon interrogations has been arrested for allegedly posing as a medical officer at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

It may seem that these fake doctors reside in Ghana alone, but Anas made the journey to Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria to collaborate with a colleague journalist, Rosemary Nwaebuni to undertake an undercover operation to lift the lid off fraudulently operating ‘doctors,’ whose activities are on the rise across the country.

In that report, most of the fake doctors were seen using instruments they have no knowledge about to diagnose patients, others were also spotted to be given wrong prescriptions or medications to the patient when they have not been well diagnosed to know the main illness.

At least, the investigations yielded positively since some of the fake doctors like Charles Igudala of Royal Dictac and couples performing illegal abortion were arrested with the help of the Senior Medical Officer of the Nigerian Health Service, Dr. Alfred Efiakoba and the Nigerian Police Team.

All these activities of men and women claiming to be “doctors” in our society are very alarming and strict measures need to be put in place to eliminate such people from our society; thus, we need to protect the lives of innocent young ladies in the country.

In my candid opinion, the best way to eliminate such quacks from the society is to ensure strict rules and regulations that such people will face when caught. Most of them, after being arrested by the police are either left unpunished or released after serving few years in the prison custody. Thus, the existence of the laws to punish such people must be very strict upon which will serve as a lesson to those who intend engaging in such act.

Again, NGOs, stakeholders and organizations in charge of ensuring proper health care delivery in the country must embark on a massive monitoring and evaluation activities in the country concerning the number of licensed herbal clinics, public and private hospitals; to check the qualifications of the doctors as well as nurses, method or instrument they use in diagnosing the patient at the facility and proper upkeep of the place.

The Ministry of Health in Ghana together with the Ghana Medical Association must organize programmes that can create the awareness to the public concerning the existence of these quacks in the country; hence, advising the people not to seek any medical attention in any unlicensed clinics or hospitals in the country.