Sierra Leone authorities on Tuesday raided a number of surgeries of suspected unregistered doctors in a government clampdown on the estimated 200 fake foreign doctors operating in the country.
"We don't know the exact number of people faking to be doctors and practising in the country with forged documents but we are determined to put a stop to this menace," Health Minister Sheiku Tejan Koroma said, explaining the raids.
Advertisement"We are estimating that since they have established throughout the country particularly in the remote areas, there may be about 200 or more engaged in the illegal practice," he told AFP.
The minister said that all foreigners claiming to be doctors or health personnel now have to be vetted by Sierra Leone's Medical and Dental Council to have their credentials verified and be registered to practice.
According to health authorities many foreigners never bother with registration or they falsify documents.
The clampdown comes after several deaths believed to have been linked to botched surgeries. A health official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that last week three men died after undergoing crude appendix operations.
According to the authorities many of the suspected fake doctors come from China, the Middle East and South East Asia.
Sierra Leone is struggling to recover from a bloody, decade-long civil war which ended in 2001. An estimated 120,000 people were killed and thousands had their limbs hacked off by rebel fighters trying to overthrow the government.
The health care system is also in tatters with less than one physician per 10,000 inhabitants, according to figures from the World Health Organisation.