Monday June 27, 2022

Crackdown launched against quacks in Peshawar

January 23, 2020

PESHAWAR: On the directives of provincial Health Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Commission (KPHCC) on Wednesday launched crackdown against quackery and illegal health outlets in the provincial capital.

Chief Executive KPHCC Dr Maqsood Ali had formed five teams of inspectors and tasked them to go after those playing with lives of the people in the provincial capital. He had to call his staff from other three districts, including Mardan, Nowshera and Charsadda, due to lack of staff in the head office to carry out campaign against quackery in Peshawar.

According to sources in the Health Department, each team is comprised of two inspectors to strictly discourage quackery and seal their outlets after proper inspection. The sources said that Health Minister Shahram Tarakai had called Dr Maqsood Ali to a meeting on Wednesday to learn about past and present status of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Healthcare Commission.

“Dr Maqsood Ali briefed the health minister in detail about KPHCC and the challenges it is presently facing. Shahram Tarakai informed the chief executive of government’s mandate and assured him of full support in ensuring quality of health services to the people,” said an official of the Health Department.

He said Dr Maqsood Ali had reportedly arranged training for all his inspectors in KPHCC in Shifa International Hospital Islamabad as most of them were not even aware of their job description.

When reached, Dr Maqsood Ali confirmed to The News that they made a comprehensive strategy for ensuring quality of health services in public and private sectors.

He said they would comply with the guidelines of the government and would strictly discourage quackery in the province. He said since Peshawar was the capital of the province, therefore it was more important to start campaign against quackery from here.

“There are so many challenges but I am very happy to share with you that the health minister is dedicated and wanted to support us in this great job of saving human lives from quacks,” said Dr Maqsood Ali.

He said that before sending his staff to the field, he had arranged for them proper training for the first time after the establishment of the KPHCC in 2015 in Islamabad and then made it clear to them that their job was neither of policing nor harassing people.

“Obviously we would not allow quacks to play with human lives but I had strictly warned our staff not to harass qualified and professional people providing quality of services to patients. For quacks there is no relief in my book as to me human life is more important, but we would never like to cause damage to someone’s business if they are working as per law,” explained the KPHCC chief executive.

He said he had also formed other teams to follow and monitor their inspectors in the field so they don’t harass people. Dr Maqsood Ali said that Health Minister Shahram Tarakai had assured them to providing all possible support to revitalise the KPHCC, which was formed during his tenure as health minister in the previous PTI government. It was a flagship programme of the PTI government but political interference and lack of interest of the present government had made it dysfunctional.

Out of 111 positions in the KPHCC, only 47 people are working at the moment in the entire province. In four years, the commission was able to set up offices in 13 districts only but only one or two inspectors were supposed to handle one or two districts.

The government has now decided to extend its services to the merged tribal districts. Dr Maqsood Ali said they had started operations in Khyber tribal district which is close to Peshawar and planned to send staff from Peshawar.