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A little while back, a baby died in Mumbai just because there wasn’t a hospital with a ventilator available in time. The news made headlines. However, as time passed, once again, the lesson was forgotten. The baby died despite it being rushed across the city, to as many as five different hospitals who couldn’t comply with the so-very-basic health need. In Mumbai, which boasts of world-class medical facilities, reports of a baby dying because there wasn’t a ventilator available, not in any of the five known hospitals too, comes as a dampener.

Look at the issue of quacks: Where cases of fake doctors in Mumbai are concerned, a reply to an RTI application in 2012 suggested that, with a total number of doctors in the city ranging from 35,000 to 40,000, there were barely 43 quacks. Around the same time reports suggested Delhi, with a population of around 1.38 crore, has an estimated number of 40,000 quacks and in comparison, Mumbai with a population of 1.24 crore, has barely 43 quacks. Recent reports suggest that there are around 2.5 million quacks all over India. According to an RTI application filed in Andhra Pradesh, only two cases against fake doctors practising illegally were filed in the past ten years in the state. And reportedly Andhra Pradesh alone has around 1.5 lakh quacks practicing medicine. These quacks practicing illegally are usually very rampant in villages and slum areas where people are generally not aware about such practices. A study by Association of Medical Consultants (AMC) conducted in 2010 suggested that, in Andhra Pradesh alone, the illegal practice of the fake doctors goes unchecked in 25,000 villages, 1,200 mandal headquarters and 150 urban slums.  The officials in the Health Department blame staff crunch for the lack of action.

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