HEALTHCARE: Pregnancy and Quack Doctors in Imo State

The government of Nigeria, I mean the local, State and the Federal governments have obligations to protect pregnant women from the butchering of quack doctors who are now sentencing pregnant women to death in the name of conducting C-Section on them.

This practice must stop. I have the confidence that the present administration will do something to crack down on these quack doctors. This very anomaly can no longer be ignored by the government.

The improvement of standards of living for any country does not mean only the constructions of towers of Babel, Sears Building in Chicago, Skyscrapers or the most beautiful road network (good though but not enough.) The defense of a people does not mean building of a formidable army to protect citizens from foreign invasion. There are certain regulations government can put in place to enhance standards of living of her citizens.

In fairness, the Nigerian government has put in place many regulatory agencies that protect citizens in one fashion to another. My question here is; how about our so-called medical doctors? Do we have any regulation in place to monitor the dilapidated clinics in rural areas that has become gallows for expectant mothers?

Time has come for the Federal Ministry of Health, or the Nigerian Board of Medicine, to step up restrictions and put a stop to senseless slaughter of pregnant women in our society. How could a medical doctor that spends five years in school becomes an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Cardiologist, Pediatrician, Oncologist and the list goes on and on to operate on a pregnant woman without proper equipment to even determine if the unborn is at stress or not? How can these village doctors without adequate education and accreditation; renovated a local three bedroom home in the village with one untrained supposedly “Nurse Eliza” be allowed to practice medicine? This writer is not being melodramatic, but as serious as anything unimaginable.

The government has the obligation to stop these doctors. The government must come out in full force to inform every doctor in Nigeria not to conduct any surgery unless the doctor is a specialist in his or her field. It is as nonsensical as it is unacceptable that after 51 years of independence, pregnant women that are fulfilling the biblical prophecy of increase and multiply should rampantly be subjected to avoidable deaths. Time has come to put this nonsense to rest.

The Nigerian Medical Board or whatever it calls itself must enact policies to protect pregnant women. This is one of the functions of a government – to enact legislation to protect pregnant sisters, wives and daughter from slaughter. If there is a poll on this very issue on deaths of pregnant women in the hands of quack doctors, the results could show that the issue is a national disgrace and tragedy. I can state without fear of contradiction that one out of four readers of this article may have known a friend, sister, daughter or distant relation who had died as a result of child birth from quack and unregulated village doctors. Many would state that it is the will of God; no, it is not.

There must be a national crackdown on this epidemic of quack doctors who are butchering women to death without answering to any authority. These group of doctors face no atom of malpractice charges, and in most cases, no autopsy is performed to determine the cause of death. In most cases, the victim’s families are subjected to intimidation and harassment by locking up the deceased until her family pays the doctor’s bills for killing their relation. Is it not a double tragedy?

The government can do its part to protect these expectant mothers by making sure that before any doctor operates on any pregnant woman, the doctor must be qualified as a surgeon, or else risks long term incarceration, including the loss of the privilege to practice medicine. Our government can no longer sit and fold its arms whereas mothers continue to die on the operating tables. Time is here now to crack down on this anomaly. The society can no longer tolerate seeing their daughters die as a result of pregnancy. Pregnancy is a good journey, and must not be seen as a life and death situations. Pregnant women are very attractive and beautiful, and must be protected at all cost.

Advocacy groups on women affairs, including female legislators must pull their resources together to actualize this project. No medical doctor that is fresh out of medical school should be allowed to open any clinic whatsoever without being a specialist in his or her particular area of specialization. If quack doctors do not pose a national risk to pregnant women; the relevant question is: Why do government officials send their wives to Western cities overseas, pay arms and legs for their wives to deliver at the watchful eyes of many specialists? This writer is not exaggerating to state that these quack doctors cut women wide open without even the availability of oxygen.

These doctor’s trademarks are usually “call your relative to donate blood” without adequate process to test the blood group as to its suitability to match the recipient. What a tragedy of a nation? The deaths of pregnant women are at the epic proportion and something must be done to correct these avoidable deaths. Please regulate the industry and protect women. They are the nucleus of every society, and government must go above and beyond to protect these defenseless expectant mothers from the quacks.

Many people should call their representatives, senators, president and governors to enact legislation barring these groups of doctors from touching any patient, let alone conducting C-Section on pregnant women. This is the time to improve the lives of pregnant women. In fairness to the government, the writer appreciates the presence of Federal Medical Centers in every urban area. The regulation of these quack doctors will enable them to pursue for advanced degrees, or they can pursue other interests, and also enable these women to seek for proper care from true specialists. The surgery on a pregnant woman is a high risk exercise and must be carried out by a well trained surgeon. Enough of these senseless deaths! Biko nu!

Blog Piece written by Mazi Henry Otulle Eke

Mazi Henry Otulle Eke is a journalist and social critic. He is the editor and publisher of Town Crier Newsletter, a bi-monthly newsletter serving African community living in Austin, Texas, metropolis and its surrounding cities.

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