In Nigeria, the healthcare system is grappling with a major issue -the prevalence of quack practitioners and gross misconduct within hospitals. This distressing trend not only threatens the lives and well-being of patients but also undermines the overall credibility and effectiveness of the healthcare system in the country. It is crucial to address this issue urgently, the prevalence of quack practitioners and gross misconduct within its hospitals. This pervasive problem not only jeopardizes the health and safety of patients but also undermines the credibility and integrity of the healthcare profession as a whole.
One of the concerning aspects of this issue is the unfair attribution of gross misconduct to volunteers, despite their significant contributions to the healthcare system, particularly in primary healthcare settings. Volunteers are often the backbone of support when it comes to human resources in these facilities. They selflessly dedicate their time and expertise to assist in delivering much-needed healthcare services to underserved communities. However, due to the actions of a few unscrupulous individuals, volunteers are erroneously held responsible for cases of gross misconduct.
It is crucial to recognize that the majority of health or medical supporting staff in private hospitals are quacks or engaged in misconduct. This alarming trend can be attributed in part to the lack of effective regulatory bodies in the country. Inadequate oversight and enforcement mechanisms allow these unqualified individuals to operate freely, putting the lives of innocent patients at risk. Such misconduct ranges from prescribing incorrect medications to performing procedures without proper training and expertise.
To address this growing concern, the Nigerian government must take immediate action and implement substantial modalities for volunteers to prevent the proliferation of quackery. These modalities are;
-Database and registration (Licensing)
-Continuous Professional Development
-Training programs and certification courses
-Centralized Information System
-Monitoring and Evaluation
-Investigation and Action
-Reporting and Complaint Mechanisms
-Collaboration and Information Sharing.
Together with robust supervision, should be made mandatory for all volunteers. This will not only equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge but also ensure a higher standard of care for patients.
It is imperative to strengthen regulatory bodies responsible for monitoring and disciplining healthcare practitioners. Stricter guidelines and regular inspections should be put in place to identify and eliminate quack practitioners. These bodies should collaborate with relevant stakeholders to improve the overall quality of healthcare services provided in both public and private hospitals.
Public awareness campaigns are essential to educate the general population about the dangers of seeking care from unqualified individuals. Emphasizing the importance of verifying the credentials of healthcare providers before seeking their services can help curb the demand for quacks. Encouraging patients to report any cases of misconduct or malpractice they encounter will also aid in identifying and apprehending these illegal practitioners.
In conclusion, addressing the burden of quack practitioners and gross misconduct in Nigerian hospitals requires the collective efforts of the government, regulatory bodies, healthcare professionals, and the public. Volunteers should be recognized and supported for their invaluable contributions, while measures should be taken to weed out quack practitioners and strengthen the healthcare system’s regulatory framework. By implementing adequate modalities and promoting a culture of accountability, Nigeria can ensure that its citizens receive reliable and quality healthcare services.
Abdulhameed Musa Abdullahi
National Coordinator of Coalition of Professional Health Volunteers Association of Nigeria