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Spotlight

   
 

Hijacking homeopathy


Tissa Karaliyadde

By Nirmala Kannangara

Members of the Institutionally Qualified Homeopathic Medical Practitioners Association (IQHMP) have alleged that "the fraudulent conduct of the head of the country's Homeopathic Medical Council (HMC) has become a threat to the country's entire homeopathic medical system." 

According to the IQHMP, Dr. S.D.P. Perera, the president of the HMC is using the office building and office equipment provided to HMC by the Health Ministry to conduct his own private meetings and study courses -  courses that according to the IQHMP are nothing less  than "classes for quacks."

While the Health Ministry has asked medical institutions - Western, Ayurvedic, and  Homeopathic - to forward the names and registration numbers of their respective registered practitioners to the police in order to help the Ministry nab medical quacks, it is alleged that Dr. S.D.P. Perera has made a concerted effort  to safeguard bogus doctors by issuing fake certificates through his private foundation - The  Lanka Homeopathic Foundation. 

Sources claim that Dr. Perera has granted 160 homeopathic quacks temporary registration (Provisional Registration) under Section 27 (3) of the Homeopathy Act in order  to allow them to carry on practicing homeopathic medicine in the country.

Provisional registration

According to the Homeopathy Act however provisional registration can only be granted to those  who began homeopathic practice before 1979i.e. (before the effective date of the Homeopathic Act) and such persons should have appeared before a board nominated by the minister(not the Council) for the purpose of verifying their knowledge in homeopathy. 

The misconduct at the HMC has disgraced the country's once esteemed homeopathic medical system and raises questions as to why the Indigenous Medicine Minister Tissa Karaliyadde and Secretary, Indigenous Medicine Ministry continue to be silent on the issue despite matters being brought to their notice on many occasions.

According to the Homeopathy Act No. 7 of 1970, Section 27(1) no person can be registered as a homeopathy practitioner unless he/she has followed a course in homeopathy for not less than four years at a recognised homeopathy institution in India, Pakistan or any other foreign country.    

"The Lanka Homeopathic Foundation offers diploma certificates to totally unqualified practitioners. Anyone who joins the foundation and pays a fee for the classes, receives a diploma and the legal recognition they need to practice," claimed a  source at the IQHMP who wished to remain anonymous.

Posing as qualified doctors

Not only homeopathy practitioners, but quacks posing as qualified doctors in the Western and ayurvedic medical traditions are also alleged to be using these 'diplomas' to give themselves some legal status.

"To rectify this problem, the Minister should exercise his powers under Section 11 (1) of the Homeopathy Act and remove the present president and appoint a replacement.  Dissolving the HMC should be an option," recommended a qualified homeopathy practitioner.  He continued,  "It is the responsibility of the HMC to prevent quacks being churned out under the present head of the council who is actively promoting quacks and quackery." 

"The first Homeopathy Act was  made law in 1970 and the first council was elected in 1977 for a period of 10 years by the then minister of health. All seven elected members were institutionally qualified members," the sources explained.

A pre requisite

The Act required even those who had been practicing homeopathy for a decade to face examinations as a pre requisite for receiving recognition as  legitimate homeopathy doctors.

Registration was only conferred on candidates who successfully passed the council's exams and those who failed to pass these exams within five years of the implementation of the Act were disqualified from practicing homeopathy.

The term of the first council expired in 1989 and more than 40 practitioners failed to pass the examinations.

However during the tenure of the second council a request was made to the Attorney General (AG) to grant permission to hold referral examinations for those who had failed  the council's original exam.

Referral examinations

"This was absolutely incorrect and referral examinations had already been held."  Not knowing that the second council had misled him however the AG vested the second council with the power to hold examinations and confer legal recognition. The council duly held these 'referral examinations' without abiding by any of the previously stipulated procedures and the HMC quickly became a breeding ground for quacks.

By this time the second council had violated the Homeopathy Act twice - first by misleading the AG and then by holding the examinations in violation of the previous procedure.

As a result of this loophole the homeopathy medical system in Sri Lanka has been inundated with quacks. 

 The Sunday Leader learns that of 110 registered practitioners in the country only 35 are institutionally qualified. Most homeopathy doctors are only 'qualified' due to the 'recognition' granted to them by the HMC. 

Further it is alleged that Dr. Perera has conducted examinations to offer one-year diplomas to registered homeopathy practitioners at his private foundation - Lanka Homeopathic Foundation. 

Questions have been now raised as to how Dr. Perera could use the prefix 'Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka' for his private foundation certificates. Even the foundation identity cards too carry the same though no action has been taken so far to correct this illegality and violation of Council ethics.

Sources told The Sunday Leader that requests have been made to Minister Tissa Karaliyadde to take corrective action.

 

Not illegal – Dr. S.D.P. Perera

President, Homeopathic Medical Council, Dr. S.D.P. Perera when queried as to why he used the prefix ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’ for his private foundation certificates and identity cards, maintained that his actions were legal.

"Why are you asking such a silly question? There is no such restriction. I have not committed any breach of the law and if I did, the government would have taken action against me," Dr. Perera told The Sunday Leader.


Illegal to use ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of
Sri Lanka’ for a private foundation – Registrar, Sri Lanka Medical Council

Registrar, Sri Lanka Medical Council, Dr. Nonis told The Sunday Leader that it was illegal to use the above words by private institutions.

"It is totally illegal for a person to use the phrase ‘Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka without receiving Cabinet approval," added Dr. Nonis.


Additional Secretary instructed to take action
– Indigenous Medicine Minister

Indigenous Medicine Minister Tissa Karaliyadde told The Sunday Leader that he has already instructed the Ministry’s Additional Secretary to take action against the Homeopathic Medical Council president for issuing fraudulent certificates to unqualified persons.

"I was informed that Dr. Perera was abusing his powers. I have now instructed the Additional Secretary to take the necessary action against him. He has failed to obtain Ministry approval,"

Minister Karaliyadde alleged that Dr. Perera was using the council building and property to hold his private foundation meetings in violation of the law.

"All these charges would be considered when taking appropriate action against him," the Minister added.

"If your paper could visit my Ministry, I could disclose more information about Dr. Perera’s misdeeds," he added.


 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 


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