With the Delhi Government having initiated steps for stringent action against thousands of quacks reported to be practising in the Capital, the National Human Rights Commission has convened a meeting of health secretaries of the States and Union Territories here this Friday to discuss the issue and other shortcomings in the health care system.

The meeting, organised in the context of “right to health” and “illegal medical practice and health care facilities”, will also discuss unavailability of essential drugs, doctors and nurses, and problems due to spurious drugs.

Representatives of the Medical Council of India, Delhi Medical Council, NHRC’s Core Advisory Group on Health and members of civil society will attend the meeting to be inaugurated by NHRC acting Chairperson Justice G. P. Mathur.

According to an NHRC release, the Commission has consistently taken the view that the right to life with human dignity, enshrined in the Constitution, must entail strengthening of measures to ensure that all sections of society have access to better and more comprehensive health care facilities. The NHRC is of the view that doctors with bogus degrees and registration certificates providing health care are a serious threat to the health of the patients.

Non-availability of national data of registered medical practitioners is another issue the NHRC feels needs attention from the authorities concerned: “The registration of an individual as a medical practitioner is currently a one-time exercise in most of the States; there is no source of data in order to design a universal enlisting method of doctors practising in the country. There is a need to shift to a system of periodical renewal of [registration of] medical professionals to check quacks.”

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