After comments of Telagnana's Health Minister draw ire, experts speak about what med students stand to lose when 'quacks' are supported

JUDA State President clears the air and says that they are neither against the statements of Minister Harish Rao nor are they targeting this issue politically
Pic only for representational purpose (Pic credits: Express)
Pic only for representational purpose (Pic credits: Express)

There are RMPs (Registered Medical Practitioners) and Paramedical Medical Practitioners (PMPs) and on the other side, there are unregistered medical practitioners or quacks, as they are informally called.

While the hazards involved in being treated by unregistered medical practitioners is anybody's guess, what is often ignored is what this does for those who have burned the midnight oil and put in years and years of studying to become RMPs, the medical students. And the opportunities that 'quacks' take away from them.

What started the discussion on quacks?

An emergency meeting of medical associations was convened at IMA Hall, Koti and in attendance were representatives from Indian Medical Association (IMA), Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association (HRDA), Junior Doctors' Association (JUDA), Telangana Doctor's Federation (TDF), TEA-Doctors Forum and others.

Yes, the meeting did come in the context of the comments passed by Telangana's Health Minister T Harish Rao. The Minister was addressing RMPs and PMPs on October 1, Saturday, at a meeting held after the inspection drive conducted by the Director of Public Health last week.  

The video clip, which is being circulated widely on social media, drew criticism from medical associations as the Minister allegedly seemed to be supporting unregistered medical practitioners while he was speaking through the phone held to the mic by MLA Guvvala Balaraj.

But JUDA, and indeed other medical organisations, have been advocating against unregistered medical practitioners for a long time now.

When EdexLive spoke to the State President of Telangana JUDA, Dr Karthik Nagula, he said, "We have been studying for 12 to 13 years and the quacks, without any medical practice or MBBS, are performing operations and running their own clinics."

He stressed that rural health is going for a toss as the rural people are not aware if the doctors in their region are qualified or not. "Medical negligence cases have shot up because of quacks," he claims.

Karthik highlighted, "The quacks are adding RMP as their designation under their names on the prescription sheet, whereas, in reality, they don't even possess the registration number."

Students and all that they stand to lose

Dr Prathibha Laxmi, Assistant Professor, General Medicine, Osmania Medical College has other worries. She worries that earlier, only highly intelligent students used to pursue medicine which held up the quality of doctors. Now, both the skilled and unskilled are in the field and with the numbers of unskilled increasing, why will students put in so much hard work if they can become a doctor without putting in the effort? "The situation is worse now. Will we soon see a day when people will stop entering the medical field because of the long-term course?" she asks.

The situation is especially dire in the rural areas, says Dr Prathibha which is restricting the opportunities for junior doctors who might be passionate about working in villages.

Encouraging or even supporting unregistered medical practitioners comes as a disappointment to those who are pursuing Speciality and Super Speciality courses believes Dr Aviral Mathur, President, Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA). "What is the point of doing such courses and spending a huge amount?" he asks poignantly and adds, Instead of creating niche for them, this is only undermining their hard work."

What about the morale of the junior doctors? "It is a big let down," he says.

What was the associations' plan of action:

October 3 - Black badges protest in all institutions private clinics, hospitals, govt institutions 

October 4 - Complaint on Health Minister (HM), BJP state chief and others supporting quackery against the law to Chief Minister, Prime Minister, Governor and National Medical Council (NMC)

October 7 - Representations to District Collectors, DM&HOs (District Medical Health Officers), DH (Director of Health) and TSMC (Telangana State Medical Council) to shut down all quack establishments

October 8 - Complaint on HM in HRC (Human Rights Commission)

October 9 - Review meeting by all medical associations on the ongoing plan of action

October 10 to 13 - Sensitisation of all medical college students and intellectuals in the state of Telangana

October 14 - DH & TSMC gherao if any action is not taken

October 15 - Public meeting at Dharna Chowk, Hyderabad

October 16 - Review meeting on a further plan of action

Contents of the viral clip

EdexLive lists the content of the viral clip in question: 

"Even MBBS doctors are performing abortions and operations without permission. Similarly, in our RMPs (Registered Medical Practitioners) and Paramedical Medical Practitioners (PMPs) also, two or three or four are performing abortions and operations. Whether it is MBBS or RMP doctors, action will be taken on only those who performed operations without permission. Other RMPs and PMPs will not have any issues.

(Applause from the crowd)

And they don't have to be scared about that. So, if you have any issues, bring them to the notice of Balraju or me. I already advised DHMO to not trouble you all unnecessarily. I will inform them again. Like regularly, you can continue giving medicine and injections. And continue doing your work.

(Applause from the crowd)

In certain places, few people are opening clinics and performing operations where they are not qualified. Because of them, we are getting a bad name. This is being done by a few MBBS doctors, Homeopathy doctors and Ayurveda doctors.

Ayurveda doctors instead of giving Ayurveda treatment performed surgeries. Similarly, one or two may have done the same here. Therefore, it is troublesome for them and the rest, others can continue working happily."

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