I had to read this one twice when I looked at the numbers quoted, there are twice as many “quack doctors” as qualified doctors in the country.  It is against the law to practice medicine without a license but enforcement efforts or small or don’t exist.  They also pay “bribe” money to be left alone and if the heat rises, they move to another location.

The Street Doctors state they use traditional methods of healing and help the poor who cannot afford private healthcare.  We have problems in the imageUS but we don’t see doctors on the street with a small outdoor office and practice.  The doctors use many herbs to help consult and “cure” in their words problems as major as paralysis.  Again, the numbers of Street Doctors when I read this article is mind boggling compared to licensed physicians.  BD

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- Sitting on an iron bench along a busy street, Chaman Lal sticks his fingers into a mug full of a greasy concoction and then applies the dark-red brew to areas where his patients complain of pain.

Lal -- who does not have a license to practice medicine, but claims to be a successful bone doctor and traditional healer -- says this potion of 18 herbs is a cure-all. His large signboard, placed along the roadside, claims he can even treat paralysis.

Part of India's massive informal economy, these street-side medicine men and women are called quacks by the medical association here -- but they say they are traditional healers. They cater to a huge market of poor people who cannot afford costly private health care. The number of such practitioners is unknown.

"There's no firm estimate, but I can say that for every 100,000 qualified doctors in our country, there are 200,000 quacks," said Ashok Adhao, president of the Indian Medical Association. "The practice is condemnable."

"We do face problems when police and municipal officers come. But we manage it" by paying bribes, said Shiv Kumar, a caretaker of a sexual disorder-treatment clinic.

Rajiv Singh, a clinic owner lying on a cot outside and under a bridge of New Delhi's prestigious Metro rail, said if his business starts to fall off, he will simply break camp and look for another location with potential new clients. Here, such a move is not a big deal.

He also said the work he and others like him are doing is effective.

Roadside doctors with no degrees thrive in India - CNN.com


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