09 November 2005

Doctor, Doctor

Nov 9, 2005
Indian 'doctor' jailed for illegally treating workers

He operated 'clinic' in Little India while on social visit pass

By K.C. Vijayan
Crime Correspondent
AN INDIAN ayurvedic practitioner was sentenced to eight months' jail last week for operating an illegal medical practice in Veerasamy Road catering mainly to foreign workers.

Natarajan Nambirajan, 52, was also fined $600 for working in Singapore without authorisation while here on a two-week social visit pass.

He practised traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine, but Western medicines were also found in the small, windowless ground-floor room where he lodged and operated.

Natarajan, who has entered Singapore several times, had been operating the 'clinic' since August, said a Ministry of Health spokesman yesterday.
Okay, I guess we all understand that the Health Ministry can't possibly allow people like Natarajan to run around loose. Still I couldn't help laughing at the next part of the Health Ministry's press statement. It's so unrealistic, it's just surreal:

The Health Ministry stressed it would not hesitate to take stern action against unqualified persons who provide medical treatment.

'Members of the public are also strongly advised against seeking medical treatment from unqualified persons.

'For foreign workers, it is also advisable for them to have medical insurance coverage to protect themselves,' it said.

Come on, lah. You expect the Indian foreign workers in Veerasamy Road to have the money to buy medical insurance? You expect the insurance agents from Prudential or AIA or NTUC Income to even approach these people and market their medical policies?

In the first place, these workers are going to Natarajan because they have no better alternative. A common cold and fever already costs this much, for treatment at a proper GP's clinic. You expect your average Bangladeshi construction worker to be able to afford that?

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