Quacks Preying On Young People Who Lack Access To Education On Reproductive Health
Meraj Khan hails from a Pashtun family in Islamabad and is currently a student at a university in the federal capital, Islamabad. His family migrated to Islamabad after the law and order situation in the tribal districts deteriorated. Leaving the lush fields and large houses of the village was nothing short of a tragedy for them. Meraj says that puberty around the age of 11 was a beautiful and romantic moment for him and he felt that for the first time in his life he had a beautiful experience.
After puberty, he was attracted to pictures and videos of film stars and he used to masturbate to these pictures, but after some time, he began experiencing some discharges and his mental stress increased. Meraj says that there was no apparent weakness, but when he talked to his friends about it, they said, “This discharge will destroy you sexually and you will never be able to give marital happiness to your wife.” He began to worry on being told this. “I was scared about my future and believed that I was no longer able to get married.” His friend advised him that there is a hakeem in Peshawar and he is the only expert in this ‘disease.’ He was told: “By going to him, you will be completely cured.”
“But the biggest problem for me was money,” he says. “What can I tell my father about a disease that I need money to treat?” He solved this problem and made a duplicate key of the box in which his father kept his money. “On the first occasion, I stole 3,000 rupees from the box.” He then went to Hakeem Sahib’s clinic.
“Hakeem Sahib examined me physically and said, ‘You are suffering from Jaryan (Spermatorrhea) and after one year of treatment you will be fully recovered.’” Meraj asked him how much it would cost, to which Hakeem Sahib replied that one month’s medication would cost him 2,500 rupees. “It was no less than an explosion for me but still I spent a month taking the medicine. Hakeem Sahib told me not to bring wrong thoughts in my mind and to avoid looking at such pictures and videos as they will increase the illness.”
He took the medicine, left the clinic and hurried home. His father beat him up and asked where he had been. “When I went into the room, I saw my mother and the marks of violence were clear on her face.” His father had first beaten her for stealing the money. “I was shocked to see my mother having been beaten and wondered why she was punished for what I had done.”
“When I took the hakeem’s prescriptions out of my book bag at night, there were various types of medicine in it, including capsules. I used it secretly and hid the medicine under the bed so that no one could see it. I used this medicine for a week but the white discharge got worse and increased my mental stress. I called Hakeem Sahib and told him that my illness got worse. He asked me to send 2,000 rupees more, so that he would send more medicine in parcels. And that was the moment when I thought it was a fraud and that he was just extorting money from me. And then I threw the medicine in the nearby fields.”
Javeria Ali is a clinical psychologist and has been providing guidance to people with various psychological issues for the last ten years. Speaking to New Daur Media, she says, “The misfortune of this country is that whenever there is talk of reproductive health and sex education, a section of society would start resisting them by labeling them as obscene. And as a result, our youth would suffer. If sex education is not mentioned in the curriculum and media, and parents also do not talk to their children about it, then where will the youth go? There are dozens of young people who come to my clinic, who do not have any disease. But they are worried about their reproductive health and some even think about suicide. Nocturnal discharge, for instance, is not a disease, but quacks and doctors don’t know about this. And they not only scare young people, but also rob them, and the effects of this deception are very dangerous. Either young people suffer from psychological complications, or, in some cases, even commit suicide. I see thousands of questions by young people in various magazines, websites and newspapers. They say ‘We are suffering from genital and sexual dysfunction and we are ending our lives.’ And the advice that they get from quacks and poorly educated doctors is nothing less than ridiculous. It causes more problems for young people.”
Explaining the solution to this situation, she says that unless young people, whether boys or girls, are provided with information about their physical and mental health, these problems will continue to grow.
Meraj Khan says, “When we migrated to Islamabad, I quietly talked to an educated friend of my father about it – and told him about my problem. I made him swear that he would not speak to my father about it. A few days later, he took me to a psychiatrist and he not only guided me on the physiological and psychological aspects, but was also kind to me and told me that I did not have any disease, and that it was all anxiety in my mind. After this advice, I became completely normal. A year later, I got married and had a child. I am sexually healthy and whenever I remember that time, I laugh at my ignorance.”