India is a place where a variety of medicinal branches like Ayurveda and Siddha have been invented. These medicinal systems have also evolved with time. The facilities and doctors are very good and India has become a world-renowned market for alternative therapies. However, with the popularity of these therapies, there are also increasing complaints about fake doctors. Numerous people fall prey to such quacks.
Jacob Vadakkanchery, who claims to be a doctor, despite having no proper certificates, is one such person. He has been misleading people by campaigning against vaccinations. He has even had said that he is not a regular doctor in front of Health Minister K.K. Shylaja Teacher. He admitted during a TV show that though he is not a doctor by education, as long as he treats people, he is still a doctor.
Recently, some posters and flex boards were displayed in Kozhikode and neighbouring areas, carrying the names of CPI (M) MLA from Beypore V.K.C. Mammed Koya and Mr.Jacob. The fact that Mr. Koya would be inaugurating a programme where Mr. Jacob would deliver a speech became controversial.
The programme that is organised by the Social Service Organisation, Feroke Town, is scheduled to be held on September 5. If the MLA of the ruling party participates in a programme in the presence of a fake doctor, it would send a negative message to society. There are already complaints against Mr. Jacob for spreading campaigns against vaccination and immunisation. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights even wants to make a law against those who campaign against vaccinations and other such programmes.
Hours after the controversy broke out, Mr. Koya clarified on his Facebook page that he is not participating in the programme and it is not being conducted with his consent. He also asked the organisers to remove the flex boards that display his picture.
This is a welcome move on the part of the MLA. But even though Mr. Jacob admitted in front of the Health Minister that he is not a doctor, do the authorities still lack the courage to take necessary action?
Dr. Viswanathan K., Orthopedic Surgeon, SUT Academy of Medical Sciences, says, “What Mr. Jacob says is not scientific. Moreover, he has openly said that he does not possess a medical degree. And if he can still continue to treat patients, it is difficult not to think that it is without strong support, political or otherwise. There might be some vested interests behind that.”
The recent diphtheria deaths that took place in the districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode have raised some questions on how effective vaccinations are in preventing deadly diseases such as diphtheria.
Such a debate began only when the official data revealed that a majority of people living in those districts had refused vaccinations. For a long time, the entire blame was put on certain religious groups. But when the matter was studied in detail, it was found that fake doctors played a big role in campaigning against vaccinations.
The doctors have even mentioned that it is Mr. Jacob who openly campaigns against vaccinations and he recommends his way of ‘treatment’ instead.
By not taking action against such fake doctors, what message are the authorities trying to convey to the public?
Photo credits- www.drjacobvadakkanchery.in