PMC Commissioner cracks whip on quacks

Oct 06, 2014, 00:33 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

In bid to deter fake doctors from ‘practising’ in the city, the civic body’s commissioner has asked medical officers of each of the four city zones to catch at least two quacks every month

With the clear message to shut shops of fake doctors in the city, the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Commissioner, Kunal Kumar, has set target for every zone’s medical officer to nab at least two quacks per month. This means that, every month, the health department has to lodge complaints against eight fake doctors in the city — two for each city zone.

Tall order? The civic body’s commissioner, Kunal Kumar, has asked the four zonal medical officers to nab at least two quacks a month from their respective zones.

For the last five months, the PMC’s health department has been cracking its whip on quacks, with the department nabbing 16 of these ‘doctors’. However, the top official does not seem to be impressed with the numbers and has asked the department to pull up its socks.

Civic chief Kunal Kumar
Civic chief Kunal Kumar

Speaking to mid-day, Kumar said, “I have asked health officials to detect more cases and lodge complaints against them. The ward officers should start laying traps and catching these bogus doctors.”

After receiving several complaints, especially from slum areas, about these quacks, in the beginning of the year, the health department initiated a survey, under which they scanned documents of around 850 medical practitioners in the city. However, according to the department, only 16 turned out to be fake. According to sources, the low detection ratio was the reason why the commissioner has now asked the for a stringent crackdown.

“If the health department starts taking action, it will have a deterrent effect and the other fake doctors will close their shops,” added Kumar. When asked if he had laid out the specific target, he said, “I have asked them to find at least two cases in their zone.” The 15 ward offices of the city collectively come under four zones, with a separate medical officer who has been given the responsibility to nab quacks as soon as possible.

Tough task
The health department, on the other hand, does not seem too happy with the target set by the commissioner. A health official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Detecting quacks and then lodging a police complaint against them is a lengthy process. Many times, cops don’t even entertain these cases, or take too long to file the complaint. One should sort out these practical problems before setting targets.”

Dr Vaishali Jadhav, assistant health chief of PMC, said, “The minutes of the meeting, when the commissioner spoke about giving targets to medical officers, have not been finalised yet. Therefore, I can’t comment on it.” However, when this reporter informed her that the commissioner has already shared the numbers with him, she said, “We have received the targets and I don’t think it will be difficult to achieve it.”

Incidentally, neither the PMC commissioner, nor the health officials have data on the number of bogus doctors ‘practising’ in the city.

Common quacks

In their search to nab fake medical practitioners, the health department has found different kinds of quacks practising in the city. They usually have a non-medical degree, but give medical advice and medicines. In a recent case, one Saroj Punawasiram was found running his ‘practice’ displaying an educational qualification of MBBS-DGO (Diploma in Gynaecology and Obstetrics). However, officials found he was only a BSc graduate. In another case, two quacks, Shankar Thakur and Parmeshwar Dande, were found to have passed only HSC.

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