Groups Demand Compensation For Woman Who Died In LUTH Custody

By Abiose Adelaja Adams
As early as 7.00 am on Thursday, the front gate of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi Araba, Lagos, was besieged by a crowd of mourners protesting the death of 35-year Folake Oduyoye, last December.

Sorrow, grief, pain, anger, regret and frustration could be seen on the faces of the protesters. Tears also rolled freely from the eyes of relatives and mourners as protesters raised one dirge after another.

Meanwhile, placards carrying messages that demand justice, and saying ‘NO’ to needless deaths, were up in the air.

The march, led by core women human rights advocates, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC, Women Arise for Change Initiative, Development Communications Network, DEVCOMS, was to protest LUTH’s culture of detaining patients who cannot pay their medical bills.

The organizations are all part of the NOTAGAIN Campaign on ending needless maternal deaths.

Late Oduyoye died in the hospital after being detained for 42 days for failure to pay a bill of N1.3 million.

The deceased was delivered of a baby girl at Midas Touch, a  private hospital in Aguda through Caesarean Section, CS. Complications during the CS  resulted in her being referred to LUTH in early September, 2014.

The complication, which LUTH described as “the intra-abdominal copious collection of pus”, required a major emergency abdominal surgery.

After being treated at the intensive care unit of LUTH, she was said to be well and then transferred to the ward and later on discharged.

According to her husband, she was policed with security guards to ensure she did not go home until she cleared the outstanding bill of N1.3million.

Prior to her discharge, the husband, Adeyemi, had spent almost N2 million before the new bill came, meaning that he was charged a total of N3, 382,700.

On the morning of the protest, a motorcycle led the convoy followed by a hearse bearing her remains. After the protest at LUTH, protesters walked up to 20 kilometres from Idi-Araba to Ijeshatedo, the Oduyoye resident.

Speaking on the reason for the protest, the executive director of WARDC, Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode, too many women die needlessly because of the kind of treatment meted out to Oduyoye and that it has to stop.

“About 144 women die needless deaths because of this kind of carelessness, and it is time we began to take a step against it. And that is why we are demanding for compensation, because we have to use a single case to demonstrate a whole lot of cases. We are ensuring that FolakeOduyoye does not die in vain,” she stated.

Also, foremost women’s rights activist and president of Women Arise Initiative, Joe Okei-Odumakin, said that government should review the health insurance scheme to provide for indigent women.

She declared: “We want justice. This must not go free.  Our walk today is to show that we are tired of losing women” adding that “LUTH must release all other women in their detention. We are not bidding her farewell yet, until we get justice for her.”

Afolabi-Akiyode, who is also the convener of the protest and Oduyoye’s lawyer noted that Section 35 of the constitution stipulates that  only public authority that can detain is the court and that “LUTH does not have the right to detain anyone for any reason and that is why we are insisting that we must stop all these needless deaths.”

She expressed anger that the government demonstrates a lack of political will to end these death and also warns against voting for politicians who do not plan to provide health insurance for its citizens, especially the poor and women.

“Nigeria is committed to the Millennium Development Goals, MDG 5 and we are also aware that through the Sovereign Wealth Fund, Nigeria is collecting a lot of money so there is no reason for women to die like these,” Afolabi-Akiyode said.

“Women cannot continue to die because they don’t have money. We all know the poverty situation of the country. How can a woman who is a hairdresser and whose husband is a printer be able to pay about N2 million?” We have to stop it. It is enough!” she declared.

According to her, going by several reports from people’s experiences, LUTH hospital is not the only one in the habit of detaining patients until they pay.

“We have also further information that the same thing is happening in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin, in Enugu, Orthopaedic

Hospital, Igbobi. It is happening in several public hospitals, “she alleged.

WARDC had in December petitioned the management of LUTH. But the hospital main response so far is its agreement to carry out a post mortem, which it said had done but without a report made public, according to. Afolabi-Akiyode.

She also confirmed that a letter was handed over to LUTH on Thursday demanding the release all other detained patients, payment of compensation to the Oduyoye family. .A copy of the letter was received and acknowledged by LUTH.






     

     

    “We have given them seven days within which they will explain to the whole world, declare how many more women are in their custody and release all of them.  If they don’t do that, we are going to court. Thank God the court is open. What has been delaying us is the strike action at the court,” stated Akiyode – Afolabi.

    Late Oduyoye is survived by a husband 40-year old Adeyemi, a printer, and four children.

    Sobs broke out across the audience as her first born son, 15 year old, Olumide attempted to make a comment but he couldn’t complete his speech. The others are nine and seven years old and the four months old baby.

    The procession, however, ended as the convoy headed to Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, where her remains will be interred.

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    2 COMMENTS

    1. Thanks for finally writing about >Groups Demand Compensation For Woman Who Died In LUTH Custody | International Centre for Investigative Reporting
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