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Training quacks will help in rural healthcare: Amartya Sen

Kolkata: With the healthcare system not up to the mark in rural areas, Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen on Wednesday said training of quacks might help in tackling the situation.

“The healthcare infrastructure required in rural areas is non-existent. If the government feels that the existing infrastructure cannot be improved, then in that case, people whom we call quacks, if they are trained, then it can be beneficial,” Sen said on the sidelines of an event.

The eminent economist and philosopher, however, stressed the need to train the quacks.

“However, it is essential that these quacks possess some kind of medical knowledge, and are given training before they can be allowed to render their services,” he said.

The Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal in November had announced training of quacks operating in rural areas acknowledging them as ‘village health workers’.

In a notification issued by the state family and health department in November, it was announced that a standard operating procedure (SOP) for these village health workers will be prepared in consultation with clinical pharmacologists, physicians, surgeons and administrators.

Besides a clear delineation of the care that they can provide, the village health workers shall be prohibited from using the doctor prefix.



  1. B.C.GUPTA B.C.GUPTA Thursday, January 7, 2016

    Dear Mr. Sen, kindly keep yourself away from the stuff which you cannot understand . You will have to take one more birth to take nobel prize in medicine. It is not a joke to become a doctor and treat anybody.I think your grey matter has started shrinking due to which you are unable to view the impact of your suggestion.On one side medical profession wants to eradicate the quackery , but people like you advocate for it. How can a quack be equated to an even MBBS ,whatever his training level ? Have you ever come across with any quack who can treat you or your family member after what you dream as a trained one? Your suggestion is a straight slap on medical profession as if fools have been trained or attained the degree in medical profession ! It is a pity on you that you can even give such a degradable remark. I think the whole medical fraternity needs an apology from you ,if you have even minute self respect >

  2. biswajit sasmal biswajit sasmal Saturday, January 2, 2016

    training of un qualified rural medical practitioners as a GRAMIN CHIKITSAK ,the only alternative of rural/poor to poorer” health.Only one way of solution of this situation is govment training & recognition .–Biswajit Sasmal –secretary ,rural medical practitioners assotiation ,w.b. state committee.

  3. Thakor Patel Thakor Patel Saturday, January 2, 2016

    Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen may have this issue wrong as using quacks to practice medicine is not a very good idea. Question is do you need more doctors or more people to do simple chores in health care? We have a model in Gujarat since 2010 based on the US Navy’s Independent Duty Corpsman. We took one village per district of Gujarat and trained a local person in the village with minimum 10 grade level education. They go house to house to screen people for diabetes, hypertension, water source, whether they have toilets, if chulas are vented outside or not and chronic diseases. They become the eyes and ear for health of the village. They also work with ASHA worker and PHC’s. india has a very good infrastructure for health care but it is not well resourced. India needs to look at Nurse Practitioner, Sevak Model and even clinical nurses to staff PHC, CHC and even district hospital in support of the doctors. the doctors are excellent but not well supported or resourced and medications are not readily available. Since Dr. Sen has mentioned quacks I wish he had mentioned research in universities in India to solve India’s multitude of problems such as clean drinking water, sanitation, prafab jumpdi’s, sewer systems etc. Indian Industries can support the research in all aspects.

  4. Ramachandra HM Ramachandra HM Thursday, December 31, 2015

    Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen should keep himself busy about the economics, the subject on which he is supposed to have good hold. Preaching and practicing should not dissociate, when your senses and brain are shaky. Or else you should stop both. Will he allow a ‘trained’ quack to treat his 1 year old grand or great grand daughter ?

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