Vikash Sharma

At a time when Odisha government is making tall claims about overhauling the health sector and announcing new medical colleges, the ground reality presents a contrasting reality.

There is no denying in the fact that there is acute shortage of doctors in hospitals. This shortage has provided a golden opportunity for the ‘quacks’ to fill up such gaps and use the scenario in their favour.

However, it is the poor patient in tribal areas who is at the receiving end and at the mercy of the quacks.

“I give cold medicines to people and administer injection for common problems and diseases,” said Raghunath Behera, a quack.

Another quack Karan Murmu said, “I get medicines from Kaptipada and give Sinarest for cold and paracetamol for other aches.”

The quacks say that there are no doctors and without the requisite qualification or certificate, they are engaged in the treatment of the patients, so be it Udala, Rairangpur, Soro or any remote part in the state.

Another quack, Ashiwini Mahanta said, “I usually check people who complain of fever and prescribe medicines and check their blood pressure as well.”

Such statements are enough to show the ground reality in different parts of Odisha. Even the area, from where the President of India, Draupadi Murmu hails, is also grappling with the problem of quacks.

The lack of doctors is to be blamed for this deplorable situation of the healthcare system here. The poor patients are forced to take the medicines prescribed by such fake doctors.

As per available information, there are only eight doctors against the sanctioned strength of 37 doctors at Rairangpur sub-divisional hospital.

Not only Rairangpur, similar situation prevails in Jamada, Bahalda, Bisoi, Kushumi blocks. It is the quacks who have taken the healthcare system into their hands. Medicine stores are mushrooming and drugs are prescribed without necessary qualification or license.

Things are also no different in Soro, Bahanaga, Oupada, Simulia in Balasore district.

Manas Bhej, a local resident said, “People cannot differentiate between a doctor and a quack. People usually buy medicines from those who are selling the drugs. Many such people do not have requisite license or certificates as well.”

Balasore ADMO, Mrutyunjay Mishra said, “We have already instructed all medical officers and superintendents to inform us whenever they come across any such quacks in their respective areas and blocks. Subsequently, we will send a team to conduct proper inquiry. We will also notify the matter to the concerned drugs inspector.”