How Lagos hospitals fleece pregnant women
For a long time, the Lagos State government has claimed to operate free maternal and childcare programme in the state, to make healthcare affordable among the vulnerable groups and reduce the tin evil of maternal and newborn death. But the reality appears different, as pregnant women in some sampled primary healthcare centres and general hospitals across the state are often forced to bear the financial cost of delivery and accessing antenatal services, even in the face of the policy.
The Lagos State government has always claimed to operate free antenatal care and delivery for pregnant women in the state.
But the reality on ground is showing otherwise, as various state-owned hospitals charges pregnant women for antenatal registration, drugs, investigations for tests and delivery.
Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR) and infant mortality rates in the world.
Out-of-pocket payments, along with other factors, have always been blamed for the phenomenon.
When The Guardian visited the Gbagada General Hospital, it was discovered that pregnant women were often made to pay for antenatal care, medical investigations and drugs, among other sundry financial costs.
Mrs. Bagadat Adeyemi, who has been attending antenatal care there, told The Guardian that she was made to register with N9, 000 for antenatal care.
Mrs. Adeyemi, who is in her early 30s, said she had spent a lot buying drugs in the hospital.
“When I came few months ago to register for antenatal, the nurses I met told me that I must register with N9, 000 for antenatal. I had no choice than to register with the money.
“I was told that the money was meant for investigations and drugs, but I know that I have spent some money for drugs since then. I am aware that I will also pay for delivery in due course.
So, I am not aware of any free antenatal care or free delivery here. If there is any, I have not benefited from it,” he stressed.
A midwife in the hospital, who refused to reveal her name, confirmed to The Guardian that pregnant women are expected to register with money for antenatal care and pay for delivery.
“A pregnant woman is required to pay N9, 500 for antenatal clinics on their first day of coming to the hospital.
“Out of the money, we shall take N500 for sending text messages to her to remind her of her antenatal days,” she explained.
She brought out a card the size of a school register, saying: “We shall also take N500 to open card for her. Then, N2, 500 will go for her tests and the rest N5, 500 will go as part payment for her normal delivery, which is about N35, 000.
“After delivery, the woman is expected to pay the remainder for delivery?”
By her explanation, pregnant women are expected to pay a minimum of N 49,500 for both registration and normal delivery.
When asked whether the amount for delivery would still remain the same if the delivery turned out to be through Caesarean Section (CS), the midwife said: “No! Caesarean Section is more expensive. But I can’t tell you how much it goes for now, because the cost has been reviewed and I just resumed today. So, I do not have the new price yet.”
Mr. Kute Fidelis, whose wife was delivered of a baby boy three months ago at the hospital, told The Guardian that he was made to pay the N35, 000 when he had the baby, and another N 1,000 each for three days as cost of hospital bed space.
At Igbobo/Bayeku Primary Healthcare Centre located at Bayeku at Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Ikorodu, the story of antenatal payment and manipulation of women in the healthcare system in was obvious.
Read more at http://guardian.ng/news/how-lagos-hospitals-fleece-pregnant-women/