It?s thought that more than half the people claiming to be doctors in India have no medical qualifications. They are known as ?quacks?, operating illegally, but often ignored by the authorities because of a shortage of qualified doctors. They regularly misdiagnose diseases and prescribe the wrong drugs, and some even perform surgeries in makeshift clinics. One prominent, qualified, doctor has started a controversial scheme, offering a quick crash course in medicine to thousands of his untrained counterparts. In return they have to stop calling themselves doctors, and rebrand themselves as ?healthcare workers?. At the very least, he says, they will do less harm to their patients, and the West Bengal government has agreed, rolling the project out across the state. But many in the medical establishment are appalled by the idea, arguing that a crash course isn?t enough, and the scheme legitimises criminals who have operated illegally for years.
World Hacks visits two villages outside of Kolkata - one with a newly reformed ?healthcare worker?, and another with a self-confessed fake doctor - to ask if the controversial scheme can really work.
Presenter: Harriet Noble
Reporter: Sam Judah
Photo Caption: Abhijit Choudhury
Photo Credit: BBC
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