Opinion: Professor Amadou (Clairvoyant)

POSTED: 08/4/14 10:09 PM

The Health Inspectorate has woken up to the fact that mystic magicians like Professor Amadou and Mr. Keita, who present himself as a bespectacled medium, are advertising their trade.

Professor Amadou has been around like forever, even though his ad proclaims that he has just come back from Africa. The ad portrays him as a clairvoyant and a “medium from birth” – a claim that seems to us to be tough to substantiate. With some wit, the professor notes that all effects have causes and solutions, which seems to be a bit of a stretch to someone who just perished at the hands of a serial killer.

Professor Amadou promises to solve all your problems – which seems like a great proposition straight from the book of the legendary American hustler Titanic Thompson. Luck in games and exams, total fidelity among couples, love, sexual power, protection, release or put on spells – our professor is a true Jack of all trades. If he were truly successful there would not be one single-parent family left on the island, and all casinos would have gone bankrupt a long time ago.

Nevertheless, the professor gives a 100 percent success guarantee and results in three days. No money back guarantee though. Hmmm.

The self-proclaimed medium Mr. Keita offers the first question free, payment after results and effect in five days. This “great African medium from the ancestral tradition” says he is “a specialist in difficult cases and even desperate cases.” Mr. Keita seems to be a bit desperate himself, because he writes in his ad: “Can come to you directly if needed.” The medium claims the ability to resolve “all problems in couples, impotence and spell removal.” Like our friend Professor Amadou, he guarantees results (in all areas) and assures potential clients of his discretion.

Both mediums work with a local phone number that we are not going to display here. This is not an advertisement for the dark arts.

The Inspectorate of Healthcare uses the above-mentioned ads as examples of people who claim the ability to heal all kinds of medical conditions “by applying certain diagnostics and (spiritual) treatments and / or using certain non-registered medication.”

We read the ads several times, but the only medical conditions Professor Amadou and Mr.Keita refer to are sexual power and impotence. The term erectile dysfunction is probably wasted on their target group. Nowhere however do they say that they would use any form of medication to solve this insult to manhood.

In spite of this, the inspectorate says that these characters have to follow a registration procedure before they are allowed to provide health services. They need an operational license and of course, selling unregistered medication is prohibited.

The inspectorate also asks in a press release to report individuals and companies that provide unregistered medical services.

One would think that the phone numbers in the ads of Professor Amadou and Mr. Keita are clues the inspectorate could use to undertake action – if it wanted to do this.

The question remains whether the professor and Mr. Keita are providing medical services. They operate in a gray area, the place where desperate people go after they have exhausted their options in the regular medical circuit.

There is also the possibility that the clientele Professor Amadou and Mr. Keita serve has no confidence whatsoever in traditional and regulated medical treatments. That’s a cultural aspect the inspectorate ought to look at as well.

The World Health Organization has plenty to say about hospitals in developed and developing countries. In July 2011 the WHO said that “going into hospital is far riskier than flying” – a comparison it would probably not repeat today in the wake of the Malaysian Airlines disaster in the Ukraine. Nevertheless, the comparison is out there, and the WHO has the data to back up its position.

Liam Donaldson, the WHO’s envoy for patient safety said this in 2011: “If you were admitted to hospital tomorrow in any country… your chances of being subjected to an error in your care would be something like 1 in 10. Your chances of dying due to an error in health care would be 1 in 300.” Donaldson added that the risk of dying in an air crash is 1 in 10 million passengers.

Hundreds of millions of people suffer healthcare-related infections each year. The WHO points out that more than 50 percent of them could be prevented if healthcare workers clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer before they touch a patient.

In developed countries, 7 percent of patients will catch an infection while under treatment in a healthcare facility. In developing countries, this is 10 percent.

The most dangerous place to be in a hospital is the intensive care unit. The WHO has linked urinary catheters and ventilators to high infection rates.

In the United States, patients annually contract 1.7 million infections, resulting in 100,000 deaths (5.9 percent), the WHO notes as reported by the Reuters news agency. Europe is doing better. The number of infections are higher (4.5 million), but the number of resulting deaths is lower (37,000, or 0.82 percent).

About 100,000 hospitals worldwide are using the WHO’s surgical safety checklist. Following the rules of the checklist has resulted in 33 percent fewer infections and a decrease in fatalities by 50 percent. Worldwide application of the checklist could save 500,000 lives a year, the WHO said.

Donaldson is adamant about this issue: “Frankly, if I was having an operation tomorrow I wouldn’t go into a hospital that wasn’t using the checklist because I wouldn’t regard it as safe.”

Now this is an issue the health inspectorate ought to pay attention to. Is our hospital applying the WHO checklist and – more importantly – are these rules followed by all staff members all the time?

Professor Amadou and Mr.Keita are serving a part of the population that is most likely uninsured and has no confidence in our local hospital anyway. It is unclear at best whether they are providing medical services – their offers feel more like social services. That’s a business alright, so the gentlemen ought to have a business license to operate, but they should not necessarily be a concern to the health inspectorate.

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