Friday, 13 February 2015

Exorbitant medical fees expose patients to fake 'doctors'

HARARE - As the cost of medical attention in local hospitals keeps spiraling, a wave of fake 'doctors' have taken over health provision in the country.

Many of the self-proclaimed practitioners are of dubious credentials and are operating without any proper registration and identification. It is the country's regulation that every health provider, even traditional ones are properly regulated in order to serve the population. Their operating rooms and qualifications need to be monitored in order to protect the sick from any health dangers.
Exorbitant medical fees expose patients to fake 'doctors' 
Sadly, the prevalent shortage of drugs, coupled with drug shortages in some public institutions has given rise to the fake doctors who have inherited tittles only reserved for qualified professionals. I have become a norm to see advertisements in the local press peddling their provisions to the general public. Though some of these services cannot be verified, some of the so-called 'doctors' have the temerity to distribute fliers in convenient places in towns to attract clientele.

Even though some of their list of ‘treatments’ is scientifically impossible, many people have taken them as a last resort to get relief for varying alignments. One such 'healer' is 'Dr. Zwane, who only provided his telephone details in a local daily. The healer can only be seen by appointment after verifying and vetting his clients accordingly. The place is always secretively to eliminate unnecessary contact with the law, since most of their operations are deemed illegal.

Amongst some of the treatments on offer are: sexual transmitted diseases, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. However, it is their capability to offer services such as: attracting customers, penis enlargement, stopping marriages from breaking apart, removing bad luck and inducing of love and good luck. Their self-claimed ability to attract financial wealth is always questionable after many clients have been loaded with demonic spirits after consulting these healers and some have even lost money during dubious healing sessions. 

In other instances, these self-anointed healers have claimed to possess treatments for HIV and AIDS rendering patients to go off their antiretroviral treatments after being promised instants results. Scientifically, it has been proven that 'penis enlargement' is a fallacy; surprisingly many men are duped of large amounts of money in a bid to satisfy their demanding partners. With such promises as, 'male organ enlargement 10-20 cm same day', healers such as 'Dr. Shumba' have become an instant hit within Harare. Unknown to these patients, some of the medicines have side effects that can only be noted later in one's life such as kidney failures.

Most of these healers have resorted to promoting their services in the press, a phenomenon that was alien previously. But with a failing health provision in the nation, the fake doctors have buttressed their illicit trade. Sources privy to the trade say even operations such as abortion are reportedly taking place under the cover of darkness. Unfortunately, many have their health compromised after such illegal procedures. Only people with appointments are eligible to accessing the 'doctor's' consultation rooms. In addition, the prescription offered at times does not allow patients to ingest medicines from the hospital, thereby rendering patients vulnerable to drug resistance. Cases of HIV and AIDS patients who have absconded on their treatment are rampant.

Traditional healers just like professional doctors are required by law to register their operations with their respective professional bodies. However, some of these traditional healers remain anonymous and are not under any body. The procedure is similar to that operating in South Africa where illegal healers have sprouted in busy towns offering a variety of treatments, while some have recorded deaths in their consultation rooms after administering unorthodox treatment methods.

Previously, traditional healers used to operate clandestinely and many did not want to be associated with the trade. Of late, this has shifted with many publicizing their trade in order to lure more clients. After calling the healer, one is directed to the 'consultation room' to receive treatment. Many of the practitioners have been known to shift bases in order to curtail any surveillance by authorities. Though the use of African Traditional medicines was rampant then, the rise of 'healers' using latest technological methods is now common. Theses healers are known to manipulate platforms such as social media to become visible to their clientele. Consulting traditional healers is now an acceptable practice though people used to do it clandestinely. - Musvo. 

Editor’s Note: The opinions in this article are the author's, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of Inform Communications.
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