- Reads riot act to quacks, operators of unregistered health facilities
Lagos State Government through its Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) has sealed the Empire Medical Centre located at 10, Soyebo Street, Ikorodu and arrested the proprietor of the facility, Mr. Onumoh Eleazer for offences bordering on quackery.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who disclosed this in Lagos recently, noted that the closure of the facility was coming on the heels of similar monitoring and closure exercise being carried out by the agency in recent times to regulate and sanitise the operations of health facilities within the state and ensure that quackery was totally eradicated in the health sector.
Speaking on the same issue, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, explained that the ministry, having received reports of quackery about the facility from concerned and well-meaning citizens, carried out a thorough investigation which indicated that the proprietor in charge of the facility performs surgical procedures on innocent and unsuspecting patients without a certificate of practise.
Onanuga disclosed that the culprit, Mr. Onumoh Eleazer had recently performed surgical operations on three out of the seven patients admitted in his facility before HEFAMAA arrested him and shut down the facility, stressing that all patients found there have been transferred to General Hospital Ikorodu for proper management.
Mr. Eleazer who claimed to have studied Medicine in the Dominican Republic but could not collect his certificate for financial reasons confessed to ‘training’ under one Dr. Godwin Kanu, a retired consultant traumatologist and orthopedist, for 14 years after his return to the country and since then had been practising medicine.
The commissioner while stating the stand of Lagos State on quackery, indicated that Mr. Eleazer would be punished according to the laws of the land. Idris also sounded a note of warning to other quacks in the health sector to desist from their harmful practices or else face the full wrath of the law.
The commissioner who frowned at the way healthcare providers train auxiliary assistants in their clinics, noted that many of them have been recruiting auxiliary nurses and unqualified personnel thereby endangering the lives of innocent people who unknowingly patronise these health facilities.
He explained that the ugly trend has now degenerated to a state where some of the so-called trained auxiliary nurses and unqualified assistants now go out and establish their own outfits claiming to be professionals and in turn breed other quacks. He stressed that such a trend could lead to a long chain of terrible consequences for the health sector if not decisively addressed.
“Lagos State Government is strongly determined to put a halt to this ugly trend of having unqualified personnel work in health facilities, be it private or public. We as a government will continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health and we will ensure that,” Idris said. He also sounded a note of warning that there is no hiding place for quacks to practice their injurious acts in Lagos State noting that they will be fished out sooner than later.
He disclosed that the ministry is presently investigating the activities of some other healthcare operators suspected to be engaged in quackery, promising that they will be duly prosecuted if found liable.
The commissioner also cautioned registered health facilities who practice beyond the scope or schedule for which they are registered. He noted that a situation where a health facility which is registered as a Maternity Home engages in activities beyond the schedule of a maternity home is not acceptable.
‘HEFAMAA is intensifying its monitoring activities and any facilities found wanting in any area of qualitative healthcare delivery will be sanctioned accordingly and any erring health care providers would be made to face the full wrath of the law,” Idris stated.
The commissioner stressed the need for all operators of health facilities in Lagos State to ensure that such facilities are duly registered and manned by qualified health personnel, ensure the annual licensing of all professionals working in their facilities, enforce the availability and use of adequate and appropriate instruments and equipment in their health facilities as well as ensure that all their facilities conform with prescribed requirement.