THE Kano State Government has shut no fewer than 1,581 premises being used as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and patent medicine shops in 20 local government areas of the state. The state government embarked on the measures following the growing menace of quack doctors, pharmacists and other health officials and the use of unlicensed premises for rendering health services by unqualified personnel across the state.
Government's action in this regard was said to have been prompted by reports that many unsuspecting residents had fallen victim to the nefarious activities of quack doctors and illegal clinic operators in the state.
But the state, working in collaboration with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, PCN, has since swung into action, shutting the fake centres and moving ahead with more measures to sanitise the state and save the lives of the citizens.
The Registrar of the PCN, Pharmacist Elijah Mohammed, represented by his Director of Enforcement, Stephen Esumobi, told Arewa Voice that efforts to sanitise the state would continue until the place is safe and secure from unqualified persons to practise and render service.
Mohammed said: "A total of 1,581 premises comprising 657 pharmacies and 924 patent medicine shops were visited across 20 local government areas of the state. A total of 537 premises made up of 138 pharmacies and 399 patent medicine shops were sealed for offences which include operating without registration with the PCN, selling ethical medicines without the supervision of a pharmacist, poor documentation, poor storage conditions, unauthorised sale of substances of abuse among others while 25 were issued with compliance directives.
"Many patent medicine shops and medicine dealers in Kano still operate without adequate storage facilities, while others have illegal warehouses scattered around the state. Some of these warehouses have a large stock of ethical products and substances of abuse which could find their ways into the camps of criminal elements in the society thus contributing to the adverse security situation."
Similarly, the Private Health Institutions Management Agency, PHIMA, has also closed down many illegal clinics which were actively rendering services as hospitals to unsuspecting persons in the state. The Agency's Executive Secretary, Usman Tijjani Aliyu, said the agency shut a chemist that was being operated by a low level secondary school leaver as a 'hospital,' describing it as a case of quackery.
Dr. Aliyu said: "The proprietor was running a chemist and then admitting patients. In a chemist, the only thing one is supposed to do is to just sell drugs. But when we got there, we discovered that he had beds for admitting patients. So we charged him for quackery because it is only a qualified doctor who should run a hospital with patients on admission.
"Besides, he is a secondary school leaver. So how can he admit patents. So it was a clear case of quackery. We shut the place down and reported him to PCN for them to charge him and take further action. PHIMA found and confiscated three hospital beds, drips, used syringes and other hospital consumables in the premises because these things contravene the laws and guidelines of PHIMA and the PCN as well.
"Therefore, with this persistent unhealthy practices in patent medicine stores across the state, the agency will continue to intensify its campaign against quackery and anyone found to be conducting such quackery, shall be dealt with in accordance with the law and guidelines of the agency."
In a show of support for the action, the Chairman of the Kano State Chapter of Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Usman Ali, said that efforts were in place to checkmate activities of quack doctors in the state. "We are fighting this quackery and it is because of this that a committee, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, monitoring team was set up in the 36 states including Federal Capital Territory.
"The committee comprises director of medical services of the Ministries of Health as chairman and the NMA chairman of each state as the secretary. About two years back, with the collaboration of Kano Police Command, we have arrested two to three quack doctors in the state. Similarly, for all who are doctors in the state, we must make sure this is a doctor who is qualified and certified to practice in Nigeria. That is why the same monitoring team is going round to help check these in the hospitals."