To achieve Universal Health Coverage with access to quality health care, health system strengthening with sanitization of the health system to drive away quacks must be ensured.
Quackery, often synonymous with Health Fraud is perpetuated by fraudulent or ignorant persons who pretend to have medical skill or even a person who pretends professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials/license they do not possess; this illegality has become the order of the day in some parts of Cross River state and the Government of Sen Prof Ben Ayade through the Cross River State ministry of Health will leave no stone unturned in its fight against quackery.
The State’s Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu and her team paid the Obong of Calabar and his Council of Etuboms a courtesy visit to inform and seek their support on the new government’s decision to sanitize the health sector, flush out quacks and make them face the wrath of the law, while strengthening the system.
Dr Edu who started by following all the traditional rites commended the custodian of the Efik tradition for being a father to all, a strong Advocate for Universal Health care, Immunisation and a voice for the masses. “Your eminence, the Government of Cross River State appreciates your tremendous support to the health sector and your person for being a voice to sensitize the masses on health issues. Today your commitment rings a bell all across the Country and beyond. As a result of the high rate of influx of quacks into the State, Sen Prof Ben Ayade has instructed that the health sector be thoroughly sanitized and all illegal and quack practices be brought to a halt and culprits be made to face the wrath of the law, this is why we are here.
“As the custodian of our tradition and the traditional head of our people, we thought it wise to solicit for your blessings and support to carryout this special assignment. Our people are dying in numbers due to this illicit act and it’s affecting the health system as we have people running Hospitals, Chemist, Pharmacies, etc without License and people who even carryout surgeries inside their rooms, some selling “one drug cures all”, some doing jobs beyond the scope of their professions and so on.
“In a bid to sanitize the health system, His Excellency Sen Prof Ben Ayade has therefore ordered that this situation be brought to an end. Anyone caught in this illegality be made to face the wrath of the law as we have legal backings from both the Legislative, Security and Judicial arms of government. We therefore solicit for your wise counsel, blessings and support in this fight.”
In affirmation, the DG of the CRSPHCDA Dr Janet Ekpenyong and the Chairman, House Committee on Health Rt. Hon. Dr Ekpo Ekpo Bassey all commended the Obong for his sincerity and support. The declared their support in this fight enumerating the various disadvantages that quackery has meted on cross riverians especially in villages and hard to reach areas noting the number of lives that have been lost thus the need for Obong’s Support, to sanitize the health sector.
Responding, the Obong of Calabar Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V welcomed his daughter, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu and her team to his palace while applauding her for holding firm on the health affairs of the State noting her numerous achievements within a space of Months as he anticipate a clean, better and sanitized health system before the end of this administration.
According to him “I welcome you and your team on behalf of my traditional council members to my palace and also commend you for your tremendous achievements in the health sector especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic. I sincerely appreciate you for this vision/idea as it’s timely and very consequential judging from the ills that this menace has brought about leading to a high number of diseases as well as deaths.
He added “I therefore give my full support and blessings especially as this quacks resides in our domains. I call on all Traditional Rulers as well as communities in CRS to join this fight and all culprits be brought to book and made to face the law. Even though we have got many other health challenges, I’ll advice that we take them one step at a time with a great working relationship between the government and the traditional rulers council your team will succeed; I call for immediate action as this is very necessary and long overdue!.”
In a vote of thanks, the Chairman of the Special Taskforce Dr David Ushie thanked the Obong of Calabar and his Council for the audience and blessings for the team to carry out this task. He assured him of a positive outcome stating that the State government, professional health bodies, security agencies and regulatory bodies are all behind this drive.