The government is fully aware of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who for one reason or another fall sick end up losing billions of shillings annually to the con men while risking their very lives-Director of Medical Services (DMS) Dr Jackson Kioko
According to the Collins online dictionary, the word ‘quack doctor’ means an unqualified person who claims medical knowledge or other skills. In Kenya, one such ‘quack doctor’ was Mugo Ndichu-alias-Mugo wa Wairimu who was convicted by Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Nanzushi and is currently serving an 11-year jail term for operating unlicensed medical facilities and having raped a patient among other offences.
Away from Mugo wa Wairimu, many other quacks have infiltrated the medical services sector perhaps because of the presumed quick riches involved while providing dangerous services. According to the ministry of health, the driving forces behind the scum are strictly monetary; those involved can easily make huge amounts of money from patients most of whom are gullible, trusting, and desperate for medical attention.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Peter K. Tum says the situation is bad and that there are no signs of the situation being contained quickly as the regulatory authority, the police and other government law enforcement agencies seem unable to effectively stop the tide.
The irresistible financial allure makes the situation even worse– “We estimate that Kenyans could be losing billions of shillings annually to quacks,” Mr Tum said. He says that the individuals involved are simply smart con men and women who develop a keen interest in medical practice. They have some rudimentary knowledge in medicine, wear medical outfits armed with medical gears, particularly stethoscopes and they are set to go.
These revelations come after extensive investigations by The Weekly Vision regarding the quacks that have penetrated the health sector only as a money-making venture.
The worst scenario is the fact that the crooks are involved in procuring abortions at fees ranging from as low as Kshs. 1, 500 to as high as Kshs. 15, 000 or even more depending on other circumstances
The Director of Medical Services (DMS) Dr Jackson Kioko told our reporter: “The government is fully aware of the fact that hundreds of thousands of Kenyans who for one reason or another fall sick end up losing billions of shillings annually to the con men while risking their very lives.” “They (quacks) are cunning and elusive, but we shall not relent on cracking them down until they are completely weeded out of the medical services. Apart from hoodwinking and stealing from the innocent sick people, they pose a grave danger to the lives of our people,” added Dr Kioko.
He says that the most affected areas are cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kisumu, but the crooks have also infiltrated other urban areas in the country, especially where access to quality health care is difficult to find.
The DMS said these crooks have the audacity of opening clinics in the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of our major cities; previously they tended to centralize their operations in residential areas where the population is normally high. “The worst scenario is the fact that the crooks are involved in procuring abortions at fees ranging from as low as Kshs. 1, 500 to as high as Kshs. 15, 000 or even more depending on other circumstances. As a result, deaths have been reported and lives ruined. Dr Kioko said that it is equally worse that most of the victims are teenage girls, some of whom are still in school. Many cases have ended up tragically.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board (KMPDB) CEO Daniel Yumbya says they recently conducted a crackdown that resulted in the closure of more than 30 fake clinics in the North Rift Region. Mr Yumbya says that during the operation, at least 270 health facilities were inspected adding that the number of quacks had significantly reduced in the last five years but the threat is far from being contained because of the monetary gains involved.
According to reports from the board as of November 23, 2016, there were 10,638 registered medical doctors in Kenya. Out of these, 6,359 are active or retained 1,227 registered dentists in Kenya but only 651 are active or retained. The number of registered specialists is 2,630 and 2,416 are active or retained. The number of foreign medical doctors on the temporary license is 2,519 and only 1,445 are currently active. The number of foreign dentists on the temporary license is 113 and only 44 remain active.
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