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The Killid Group
Crackdown on bonesetters in KandaharWritten by Abdul Samad Oria Khail
Saturday, 11 June 2011 11:06
Health officials of Kandahar have launched a campaign against bonesetters, who, they say, are quack doctors who have no medical skills.
Doctors in Kandahar are critical of the traditional bone-setters saying that they do not possess any knowledge but carry on their work like a family tradition that is handed down from father to son. Not only do they not cure the patient, but they can make his or her situation worse.
Dr. Abdul Ghani Misbah, bone specialist of the department of surgery in Mirwais Hospital, says the hospital receives, on average, three patients every week who have been treated by the bone-setters and developed complications as a result. According to Misbah, the situation of some patients is so bad that they are beyond help.
Dr. Abdul Qayum Pukhla, the Director of Public Health in Kandahar province urges people to stop turning to bonesetters. "They have no knowledge in this regard and can cause several problems to the bones."
According to Dr. Pukhla, they started a campaign four months ago to round up the bonesetters with the help of security organization. He says that they had recently made a plan in association with provincial leadership of Kandahar to stop the activities of these bonesetters.
Many people choose to go to bonesetters rather than doctors either because they are cheaper or more accessible. Access to medical health in Afghanistan is still a severe challenge.
A resident of second district of Kandahar, Mirwais who had taken his son to a bonesetter says, "I thought that bonesetters might be like doctors, but they created further problems for my son. They work on the basis of guesswork rather than knowledge of medical practices."
But bonesetters do not accept these accusations. Habibullah, a bonesetter in Kandahar City, says, "If health officials want to stop our activities, they should first test our knowledge to see whether we are indeed knowledgeable or ignorant and then take action against us." Habibullah has been doing this job for the past 38 years and supports his family through this work. He accepts that he has not gotten any formal training or knowledge in this regard, but adds: "I am doing this job based on my experience and I have more patients than doctors."