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Old City quacks thrive on ‘ill’iteracy

Asif Yar Khan
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Make hay when the sun shines seems to be the in-thing in Old City. Taking advantage of the absence of affordable and proper health care facilities, quacks are thriving here. Most of them have no licence or the required qualifications to practise and yet do a roaring business.

Scores of quacks have set up ‘clinics’ in this part of the capital. They function by night, and what attracts patients is the low and, in some cases, no consultation fee. Interestingly, most of these clinics have no name boards. The quack opens his clinic and switches on a ‘red bulb’, an indication that the clinic is open, and begins his work.

Daily wage earners prefer these clinics as they are convenient and inexpensive. One needs to cough up a consultation fee of just Rs. 25 to Rs. 40. This includes charges of medicines, too.

They also administer injection and advise diagnostic tests like full-fledged doctors. Poverty and illiteracy are the primary reasons why many prefer such clinics to big hospitals. “Urban health centres function only during the day, and visiting them means loss of a day’s earnings, the reason why we prefer these clinics,” says Shaik Ashwaq, a fruit vendor.

The business continues unhindered in slums in this part of the city. Areas like Fatimanagar, Vattepally, Hashamabad, Bandlaguda, Hafeezbabanagar, Hasan Nagar, Shaheen Nagar, Suleman Nagar and Aman Nagar have a large number of clinics.

Even as government rules prohibit even Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP’s) from administering injections and prescribing medicines, quacks, without any qualification, do it. Most of them have earlier worked at pharmacies and hospitals, it is said.

The clinics set up by quacks in Old City function by night, and what attracts patients is the low and sometimes no consultation fee


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