A Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr

Adebayo, who is the Acting Medical Director, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, made the call in Lagos at a one-day seminar organised by the Lagos Chapter, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).

The theme of the seminar was "The Impact of Quackery on the Health of Nigerians and How to Tackle the Scourge’’.

"Quackery is very common in the Nigerian society and it is quite unfortunate because a lot of people are ignorant.

"They are falling victims of these charlatans who parade themselves as medical experts in the area of investigation, consultation and actual treatment of patients.

"A lot of people have fallen victims of these people; they have had complications in their health and even worse than that, some have lost their lives in the process.

"The government should wake up and ensure that the regulatory agencies live up to their responsibilities and bring sanity to the profession.

"Fish out those quacks and make them to face the wrath of the law,’’ he advised.

Adebayo said that a lot of times, people patronised quacks due to the fact that the doctors were not available.

"When we do not have doctors in the whole town or village, what will the people do; in this way quackery will persist.

"But when you have professionals around and they are encouraged to remain in the country to practise, people will not be at the mercy of the charlatans.

"So, the government should ensure that health workers are kept within our borders, be encouraged and given a conducive environment to practice,’’ Adebayo said.

Also, a Medical Practitioner, Dr Leke Oshunniyi, said that under-reportage of the quackery menace in the nation’s health institution was a huge challenge.

Oshunniyi urged the public and practitioners to be more alive to their responsibilities by reporting quackery.

He said that they should report any noticed quackery practices around them to the appropriate authorities and eschew nonchalant attitude in such life threatening matter.

"We should be more conscious and there should be more advocacy to ensure that quackery is reduced to protect the lives of people,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the NMA Chairman, Dr Tope Ojo, said that lack of political will was a challenge to curbing quackery.

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"Policies are made but they are not implemented and there is need for these policies to be implemented to curb the menace.

"Also, building capacity is essential to curbing quackery in the country.

"This will mean training and re-training, funding education and recruiting more personnel in the health system,’’ he said.

Ojo said that poor infrastructure in the rural areas was not encouraging qualified personnel to work in those areas and urged the government to address the needs to curb quackery.