The Lagos State Health Facilities Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) has sealed 40 health facilities in the first half of 2023 for non-compliance with regulatory standards.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr Abiola Idowu disclosed this today at a stakeholder’s engagement meeting, themed: “Combating Quackery in the Health Sector: Strengthening Stakeholder Collaboration and Regulatory Oversight,” held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos. She explained that the facilities were sealed for various infractions including non-registration of facilities, lack of qualified medical personnel, practicing beyond scope of approval, improper disposal of medical waste and operating in an unclean environment.
She explained that it was important for the agency to involve and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to facilitate the understanding of its position and what is required in terms of compliance with standards. “There is a need to understand what they are going through and see how we can come together and ensure that health facilities have high standards as well as ensure that these standards are culturally acceptable,” she stated.
While lamenting that quackery had eaten deep into society, she emphasized the need to include the police as one of its stakeholders as they are key in combating quackery.
In her welcome address, the Chairman of HEFAMAA Board, Dr Yemisi Solanke-Koya, explained that the stakeholders’ engagement was organised for better collaboration with critical stakeholders in the sector as they are vital in curbing the menace adding that the event was a clarion call to end quackery in Lagos State.
“We need to understand the nature of quackery, build on regulatory frameworks and enhance partnerships with relevant stakeholders in this regard. The goal is to have impactful results,” the HEFAMAA Board Chairman said.
She observed that quackery is an issue, not only in Lagos State but across Nigeria. She added, “Lagos wanted to be ahead in checking the menace of quackery.”
In his keynote address, “Understanding the Nature and Scope of Quackery in the Health Sector”, Professor of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Lagos and the President of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria, Professor Akin Osibogun stated that both professionals and non-professionals can practice quackery.
“Quackery is when a person in one professional cadre lays claim to the ability to perform procedures not within his or her professional purview, that person is aiming to deceive patients and by definition, qualified as a quack. It involves a dishonest claim by someone claiming to be a health practitioner with qualifications he or she doesn’t possess”.
“The main drivers of quackery are consumer ignorance and desperation, ungoverned health care space. The most difficult forms of quackery to control are those hiding under the banners of complementary and alternative medicine. Although Lagos Stale and some other States have set up Boards in an attempt to regulate practice in these fields, some of the practices are also faith-based.
“Key tools to controlling quackery include community education and awareness, provision and access to quality health services, professional regulation and health facility regulation and monitoring,” Osibogun stated.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, represented by Dr. Olufunmilayo Shokunbi, Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry, noted that combating quackery is everybody’s business. She urged participants to have fruitful deliberations.
At the event were presentations on various topics such as Strengthening regulatory frameworks and policies and educating the public to prevent quackery; Enhancing the capacity of the agency to monitor, detect and investigate cases of quackery as well as Building partnerships and alliances for effective action against quackery; Equipment investment partnership and Seamless Ambulance services among others.
Dignitaries at the stakeholders’ engagement include the Divisional Police Officer, Alausa Police Station, CSP Elizabeth Opadola; HEFAMAA Board members, representative of the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) and Chairman, International Association of Nigeria Nurses, Olurotimi Awojide among others.
Dignitaries at the event: