Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hepatitis C - Beware of fake TV doctors in Egypt

Beware of fake TV doctors in Egypt
By Amina Abdul Salam - The Egyptian Gazette

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 02:18:28 PM

CAIRO - A doctor prescribed a treatment that causes cancer on a satellite TV channel. Another doctor swindled his patients by advertising herbs that were supposed to get rid of various diseases. A third one misled viewers by claiming he had a drug against hepatitis C.

These ‘doctors’ appear on private satellite channels created after the revolution, while the Ministry of Health does nothing to counteract or contain this medical chaos.
According to Dr Mona Sabe’, specialised on skin diseases, the revolution cannot be blamed for the appearance of fake doctors who are only interested in financial gain. She thought no other country in the world faced this phenomenon.

“One so-called doctor advised viewers to use a certain medicine to treat diabetes, but the whole thing was a farce! It reflects the fact that there is no supervising body,” Dr Sabe’ noted.
She is appealing to the Ministry of Health to protect people’s health. One of those who claimed to be a doctor had to go to jail. When he was released, he advertised his invention of an unlicensed shampoo, she added.

Dr Anwar el-Hemili, professor of neurology, noted that medicine was now being prescribed on air. These programmes had to stop and the broadcasters in question prosecuted.
“The main task and responsibility of these programmes is to correct wrong medical concepts, not give a diagnosis on air”, Dr Hemili said. He added that so-called doctors were talking about brain surgery without knowing anything about the subject.
This malaise required coordinated efforts between the Health Ministry and the Doctors’ Association.

For his part, Dr Adel el-Rakeeb, professor of the liver and digestive system at Al-Azhar University, called these TV doctors charlatans. Playing with people’s health was a serious matter. He told the Radio and Television magazine that those claiming to be doctors were misleading people, abusing the current lack of control and absence of an ethics committee at the Doctors’ Association and the department responsible for granting medical licences.
Dr el-Rakeeb mentioned that another charlatan appeared on satellite TV, announcing that he had discovered a treatment for HVC. Dr el-Rakeeb investigated the claim and found out that the so-called new treatment was a LE3,000 injection containing plain water and harmful materials.
Some self-proclaimed doctors claimed that they were able to overcome obesity and reduce weight. If they were real doctors they would have done blood tests with their patients before prescribing a diet.

Dr el-Rakeeb recommended that those who wanted to lose weight should go to the Nutrition Institute or the National Research Centre, which dealt with people’s health on the basis of proper medical science, and that the Ministry should take legal action as far as fake doctors were concerned.

Dr Abdul Hamid Abaza, Assistant Health Minister, stated that the Ministry of Health had contacted these satellite channels on several occasions and asked them not to expose the viewers to health risks, and that the former Minister of Health had submitted a report to the Public Prosecutor.

“We are concentrating on raising people’s awareness, hoping they will stop watching such programmes, until legal safeguards are in place.”

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