It is so unfortunate that Medical quackery is still on the rise in Kenya. Medical quacks are burgeoning from all points of this great East African Nation. Surprisingly they tend to win the trust of more patients than qualified medical personnel because they have fully mastered the art of charlatanism. Most of them attended “online” schools (google & the rest). How can you google few medical terms and then you acclaim the tittle Doctor before your name when we spend years in college learning the same information.
I understand that we are living in difficult times and everybody is willing to go an extra mile to make the end meet. However that does not warrant anybody to venture in the medical field without acquiring the relevant skills from accredited Medical institutions. Remember you are dealing with human beings and any form of mistake may be eventful.
We have the various form of quackery and many are the times when you have been preyed on without knowing. I have been a victim myself.
Qualified healthcare providers are the biggest promoters of quackery in Kenya. Imagine a Pharmacist conducting a physical examination on a patient. A lab technician prescribing drugs, Nurses conducting Surgeries. Am really perturbed by this trend. Healthcare professionals are no longer sticking to their specialization. This is ultimately compromising the quality of care for patients.
- A pharmacist is only supposed to dispense drugs according to how they have been prescribed by the Doctor. She/he has the authority to decline dispensing drugs in an event she notices that the prescription is wrong in terms of dosage, route, and duration. She/he should not dispense drugs to patients without a prescription unless they fall under Over The Counter (OTC) category. E.g. Paracetamol.
- Nurses have the core responsibility of carrying out Doctor’s instructions including proper administration of drugs, dressing of wounds, Psychological and Nutritional care. They act as the link between the patient and the Doctor and they are in a better position to advocate for the most therapeutic interventions. Nurses can also practice privately after being issued with Private practice license
- Lab Technicians are responsible for conducting diagnostic tests according to how they have been instructed by the clinician. They pivot the healthcare cycle and any form of negligence leads to misdiagnosis which ends up being fatal if it is not detected early in time. They also update the clinicians on the most relevant diagnostic tests.
- Radiographers work hand in hand with Lab technicians and clinicians. They also offer diagnostic solutions through imaging. Interpretation of these images is done by a Radiologist. Radiology is now used to treat some diseases.
- Physiotherapist duty is to assist the patient in regaining functionality of injured body parts either through physical accidents or through systemic infections. They use physical modality such as exercise and massage to restore function. They are not licensed to prescribe drugs.
- A nutritionist should stick to the science of food and its relation to health and diseases. Counselors should aim at clarifying issues for patients and enable them to understand their psychosocial problems better. They should never make decisions for patients.
The fact that you once worked as health record officer in a Government facility does not certify you to run a healthcare facility as a clinician irrespective of how much you are conversant with the drugs and laboratory tests. A Pharmacist should understand that a chemist is not a grocery shop where your friends and relatives can serve customers satisfactory. Imagine a school boy dispensing drugs to patients. This field leads in quackery. It has contributed to the abuse of antibiotics and other drugs. That is why there are so many cases of drug resistance.
A genuine healthcare facility should hang on the wall a registration certificate indicating that the premise is certified to operate as a medical institution. Medical staff working in those facilities should have valid personal licenses to operate as healthcare providers and the chief clinician should also mount his/her on the wall.
Veterinary medicine is comparatively strict. I wonder why clinical Medicine is so loose. Am urging both the county and National Government to do something about this matter if they really want to streamline our healthcare sector. The public should also notify the relevant authority in an event they suspect that there is a particular health facility that is not operating in line with the set standards. That is the only way we are going to contain this menace that contributes to the high rate of Morbidity and Mortality.
AUTHOR: Eliud Kigotho. Registered Nurse, HTC Counselor