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Page last updated at 23:08 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 00:08 UK

Sierra Leone shuts bogus clinics

The Kroo Bay Clinic staff
Many trained staff left Sierra Leone during the civil war

Nearly 50 illegal health clinics in Sierra Leone are to be shut by officials amid claims that botched operations killed patients.

The clinics in Freetown were staffed by people with little or no training, who offered inappropriate treatment, deputy minister of health told the BBC.

He also said many of those working in the clinics were foreigners.

Sierra Leone's health care system was badly damaged during the 11 years of civil war that ended in 2002.

Many doctors fled the country.

These people came into our country illegally, and established illegal structures under the pretext of giving out medical services in order to make quick money
Mohamed Koroma
Deputy Health Minister

Medical disasters uncovered by a special task force investigating the clinics included patients being given expensive saline drips which they were wrongly told would cure diseases like malaria and typhoid.

In one particularly disturbing case, a health official described how a man with appendicitis had had his genitals amputated.

The task force, set up by the health ministry, found a long and shocking list of medical disasters in the clinics.

Deputy Health Minister Mohamed Koroma said the problem was a legacy of the civil war.

"These people came into our country illegally, and established illegal structures under the pretext of giving out medical services in order to make quick money," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.



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