We Have Resolved The Issue — Commissioner Of Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro
PREGNANT women receiving antenatal medical attention at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital Akure, Ondo State, Thursday protested against the increase in the cost of services at the state government-owned hospital.
The over 200 pregnant women protestants blocked the main entrance of the hospital, disrupting operations at the hospital and hindering vehicular movement at the ever-busy hospital road for more than two hours.
The protesting women with their protruding stomachs, vowed to resist the over 300 per cent in the increase of the cost of services in the hospital, and sat at the entrance of the hospital, rendering anti-government songs, and called on the state government to reverse the cost of service.
Some of the women who spoke with ReportersAtLarge explained that they usually pay N1,000 as registration for antenatal while delivery was free but said the fee has been increased to N4,000, while they have to pay N500 for every antenatal appointment and N25,000 for normal delivery.
Addressing the protesters, the Chief Medical Director of the General Hospital Dr Moses Adewole, who denied the development, said there was no increase in the cost of delivery of the pregnant women in the hospital.
He, however, said the newly introduced N500 for every antenatal appointment was introduced by the management to subsidise the running cost in the hospital, while he appealed to the pregnant women to cooperate with the hospital.
He said, “everything in this country is on the high side and most of the time we depend on power from Power Generation set because the power from the National grid cannot power most of the equipment in the hospital and we depend on generator most of the time.”
This infuriated the pregnant women who refused to listen to the CMD and started singing anti-government songs and vowing not to pay the new fee.
The Permanent Secretary at the Hospital Management Board, Dr Adeniran Ikuomola, however, compounded the situation, while he seized the phones of the protesting women and was booed out of the hall.
The protesting women refused to enter the hall to listen to Ikuomola until after the arrival of the Commissioner of Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, who reversed the new increase in the cost of services at the hospital.
Speaking to journalists, he said “We have resolved the issue and I think there was communication gap and that was what caused the protest. The people were not properly briefed about what is going on, but we have cancelled the N500 for the antenatal appointment and should revert to the old system.”
Adegbenro described the increase in the delivery fee as false saying there was no plan to increase the delivery fee, “there is nothing like N25,000 for delivery, it is a false information and the normal delivery fee remains N5,000.
“The service charge for antenatal patients should be lower than other patients and that is why the money covers every test and every investigation and analysis. This is because of peculiarities of their case”