The revelation of the return of the fake doctor who has been procuring abortions and treating patients with all sorts of concoctions is an indictment of regulatory agencies and the justice system. Self-proclaimed medic James Mugo Ndichu, who goes by the name “Dr Mugo wa Wairimu” escaped imprisonment when his dubious activities were unearthed three years ago because of technicalities that did not make sense.
And that must have convinced him that he is above the law; that he can practise medicine illegally, cause harm to hapless patients and get away with it. The horrifying details of his activities demonstrate a personality disorder; a fellow permanently inebriated, who draws bizarre pleasure from performing unorthodox procedures on patients.
At the heart of the matter is the question of regulation and supervision of health practice. His illegal activities were widely covered when his dubious operations were discovered in 2015. Both the medical authorities and security came in, seized and had him arraigned in court. Indeed, the case drew public outrage and it was expected that not only would he be punished, but would never be allowed to operate any health facility. Not only that he is unqualified, but he also engages in illegal act – abortion. Even if he was qualified, that alone could cause conviction.
He found his way out and tricked another fellow to obtain operating licence. That in itself is a criminal offence that should be discharged on its own. But the fact that he has been operating this dingy clinic in Kayole, Nairobi, for nearly a year shows that the Kenya Medical and Dentists Practitioners Board is lax in its supervisory and regulatory role. Quite often, the board mounts inspections and cracks down on quacks and illegal health clinics. But those are sporadic and uncoordinated. If it conducted consistent inspections, it would have detected this fellow. Which leads to the other question, how many of such quacks are out there?
Security agencies should have seized the fellow. But it is equally damning that there are many people who knew and suspected the clinic was illegal and the proprietor incorrigible, but failed to report to the authorities. The accounts they have given to the media confirm that they were unsatisfied with the clinic and its proprietor. But why didn’t they report? The Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the police must seize the matter, look for the fellow and his accomplices and charge them with the numerous offences they have committed. This shameful episode should compel the medical board to intensify inspections and supervision to rid the profession of such deadly quacks.