Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Over 200 pregnant women in Edo State took to the streets on Monday to protest their inability to get registered for ante-natal care in the state government-owned hospitals and lack of facilities at the laboratories which has robbed them of medical attention for about two months.
The expectant mothers marched to the State House of Assembly and the Government House to register their displeasures and demanded that something urgent be done to alleviate their sufferings.
One of the women who gave her name as Evelyn, told journalists that she and other women who registered for ante-natal care in the hospital have not been able to access doctors for the past two months. as they were told by hospital staff that there was no equipment to conduct test and as such doctors could not attend to them.
“For two months since we register we could not do anything. They said there is no equipment to conduct test. The doctors cannot make diagnosis without test. Even ultra-scan we cannot do it. That is why we are in the street protesting,” she said.
Addressing the protesting women at the Government House, the deputy chief of staff to the governor, Stephen Idehenre, promised to convey their message to governor.Adams Oshiomole.
Meanwhile, a staff of the ante-natal unit of the Benin Central Hospital who spoke in privacy to our correspondent, disclosed that staffers at the unit were not enough to cater for the increasing number of expectant women at the hospital.
This, it was gathered, is so because of a recent government policy requiring all hospitals to pay their internally generated revenues to government coffers from where running costs would be disbursed to them.
The new policy is crippling operations in many hospitals in the state. A management staff at the Benin Central hospital said N1.250 million was disbursed to 36 hospitals across the state as running costs out of which the Central hospital got N200,000.
“Before now, we used to spend our earnings on running cost and it was okay but they now asked us to pay into the state government account. How can they give us N200,000 as running cost. This hospital is down and nothing is working “, the source said.
It was discovered that medical test for malaria, typhoid and other ailments were conducted outside of the hospital by patients willing to see doctors at the hospital.
The state Commissioner for Health, Heregie Aihanuwa, in her reaction, said government was working toward resolving all issues at the Central hospital.
Sources in the government however said that the hospitals’ finances were streamlined to stop leakages because the hospitals’ management claimed to spend everything they earned.