By Rabia Ali
In a cramped Christian community of Taiser town, several people, including an eight-day-old baby, have lost their lives at the hands of quacks, as singers, dispensers, ward boys and others have assumed the role of doctors, The News has learnt.
Hundreds of other people are at risk as these imposters fearlessly administer patients with animal vaccines and high dose of anti-biotic medicines while the Lyari Expressway Resettlement Project (LERP) authorities continue to look the other way. A visit to Block 35-C of the town reveals that every street is home to such quacks, who have set up clinics at their residences to extract money from the underprivileged people, who were resettled in the area by the LERP.
Also, the health facilities in the town display a bleak picture as apart from a single dispensary, the Gospel Dispensary run by the LERP and the Gospel Help Welfare Trust, there is no proper medical centre or maternity home to deal with any kind of emergency. Meanwhile, the plan to open up a hospital in the town some three years ago, as claimed by the LERP officials, remains a far cry as, according to officials, the government is not releasing funds for the project.
“These fake doctors do not have any medical degree or training. They are simply making money and endangering the lives of the people by using strong medicines and dangerous vaccines such as Cyanocobalamin B-12 and Rexavil Injection, which is meant for pets, and then using IV injections in the simplest of cases,” Dr Faisal, a qualified doctor working at the Gospel Dispensary told The News.
One of the victims of these quacks was the eight-day-old baby of Sanober. While she was busy toiling at a textile factory, her mother Parween met this reporter, explaining how her daughter lost her baby.
“Just few days after his birth, when the baby had fever, we took him to one of the most famous doctors in the locality. The doctor gave us syrup and told us to give him ten drops every hour.” But little did the family know that the syrup was not a proper medicine. When the condition of the baby deteriorated after using the syrup, the family took him to another quack in the area.
“This doctor recommended us some other syrup and we were told to give him drops after every two hours. However, the baby turned blue after we made him drink the syrup, and he stopped breathing by morning,” continued Nusrat, with her quivering voice, and tears in eyes. “These doctors are murderers. They are responsible for emptying my daughter’s lap. Being an illiterate, I don’t remember the name of the medicines, but I know for sure that they took away my grandson’s life.”
The so-called Dr Tariq Amanat, to whom the baby was initially taken for treatment, when approached for comment, refused to acknowledge that he had a hand in the baby’s death. However, he admitted that he was not a qualified medical practitioner. “I am a singer by profession, and perform in public functions. However, I have set up a clinic at my home, and I treat patients in the evening as I’m smart and have knowledge of what medicines to give to the sick ones,” he said without having a slightest bit of guilt or shame of his wrongdoings.
His so-called clinic was also self-evident of the fact that he was no doctor, as the table and shelves were without any equipment. Only a handful of medicines and a thermometer were lying randomly on a bench.
The smartly dressed man admitted that it was illegal to treat patients and give them medicines when he was not a doctor. “But what other choice do they (residents) have? No doctor from the city is willing to come all the way to the outskirts to treat patients, and even if they do, they would be charging too much,” he added.
Meanwhile, another quack in the area, Dr Qaiser, also confessed that he was not a doctor, and worked in the pharmacy of Aga Khan Hospital. According to him, he treats patients in the evening to “help” the people of the locality.
Just few steps away from this quack’s clinic lies another clinic where a married couple, Samuel and Nora, are running a clinic and a maternity home, both without facilities. “We can cure any type of diseases. We even treat people suffering from heart diseases,” Samuel proudly claimed, insisting that he was a homeopathic doctor while his clinic was full of allopathic medicines.
Samuel’s treatment of heart patients claimed the life of a resident Sammy. His niece Faiza told The News: “A year ago, my uncle complained of chest pain. When we took him to Dr Samuel, he gave him some medicine after which my uncle expired.” Just like Parween’s family, this family also did not register any case against the quacks as they feel helpless and believe that no one will listen to them.
“Almost all the inhabitants living here are poor and illiterate and cannot distinguish between genuine and fake doctors,” said a resident of the area. Majid Ahmed, President of the Gospel Help Welfare Trust, said that since the quacks are residents of the area and have relatives there, so their crimes are easily covered up.
Meanwhile, LERP Project Director Shafiq Ahmed Paracha, who is responsible for the area, denied to own any responsibility in this regard, blaming the Health Department for such state of affairs in the area. However, when asked as to why he had not taken any action against these quacks being the project director, he said he would pay a visit to the area, and will send a team to probe into the matter.
Source: The News