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Probe into quackery

Investigation team of the Nepal Police has arrested some people active in clinics and hospitals as ‘doctors’ without necessary credentials and taken them into judicial custody. Lead investigator Nabaraj Silwal has assured the public that arrest and prosecution of these doctors has been carried out on the basis of proper investigation and evidence. Kathmandu District Court has remanded these 16 ‘doctors’ to custody for five days pending further investigation.

These ‘doctors’ with insufficient academic qualifications had taken license to examine patients, prescribe medicines and do surgeries, thereby played with people’s health. Many patients might have lost their lives at the hands of these doctors with no qualifications and skills. Many others might have become disabled. Thus, it is a serious crime against humanity. It is state’s duty to find out the root cause behind this scam. The court is also expected to look into these issues during trial.

All accused have to be presumed innocent until proved guilty. But Nepal Medical Association’s objection against the police arresting fake doctors is surprising. Association chief Dr. Anjani Kumar Jha, in one radio interview, said that these doctors should not have been arrested; cancellation of their license by Nepal Medical Council (NMC) would have been enough. But is it such a simple issue? Revoking license of a quack is not sufficient punishment just like a driver cannot be let off with mere cancellation of license for killing people in road accident.

But questions should be raised as to why these doctors facing trial were allowed to study at the MBBS level without properly examining their secondary and intermediate level certificates. NMC also could have scrutinised their academic credentials while taking license examinations. It goes without saying that qualified, experienced and renowned doctors are responsible for these exams. High-level officers at Education Ministry and Health Ministry are also involved in it. Does this mean they have failed in fulfilling their responsibilities? Or were they involved in corruption? Answers to these questions need to be searched. Authorities concerned should take initiatives in delving into this issue.

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