What A Loss! For Temitope Sanni, the birth of a set of triplets has become more of a curse than blessing: Shortly after they were born, the babies, all boys, died one after the other. Reason being that the parents could not raise the N4,000 required of them to buy drugs.
Apparently because of the family’s indigent condition, the woman was delivered of the babies in the
parlour of the Face-Me-I-Face-You bungalow she and her husband share with others, at Ilogbo, near Sango-Ota, Ogun State.
The home delivery was carried out by her niece. Seeing that the kids were too fragile, the mother and father were advised to take them to a clinic. At a nearby clinic, Damisile Medical Centre, the family was advised to rush the babies to a general hospital.
With N2,500 as all they could gather, the family rushed the babies to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), but were told that there were no beds to admit the babies and their mother.
The mother and father dashed out of LASUTH and went to the Federal Government-owned Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). By the time they arrived at LUTH, one of the babies had died. At LUTH, they were told to go buy some drugs for the remaining two boys. The total cost of the drugs was put at N4,000.
Having paid transport fare from their home, first to LASUTH and then to LUTH, the total money left on the mother, a petty trader, and her husband was N1,850.
In frustration, they left for home hoping to raise money. By the time they got home some 30 minutes after, another of the boys had died. Few hours after, the third also died.
The Minister of Health, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu had recently lamented lamented that at present, there is no mechanism for emergency care in the country.
He noted that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which is voluntary, covers people in the public service only. Plans to expand it to accommodate more people, especially in the informal sector are still being worked out.
The minister, at an interactive session with health writers in Lagos, also disclosed that there were plans to make the present voluntary NHIS mandatory for every Nigerian citizen so that through it, many poor Nigerians can get health care.
“I am proud that the NHIS is working and we hope to make it mandatory, either by tax system or contribution,’’ he said.
Responding to a question on how to address demands by hospitals that patients pay before attending to emergencies, he said, “No hospital under my charge insists on payment before attending to emergencies”, but for the private hospitals, we encourage them.”
He disclosed that a policy that will address that is currently being formulated, but it will go through a lot of process including the Presidential Summit on Universal Health Coverage.
His words, “What I am proposing is that there has to be some kind of mechanisms for emergencies, which government can guarantee. That way, you and I can fall back on that because emergency could affect anyone.
“You may be enjoying a meal and accidentally, you have a bone stuck somewhere in your throat and your life is in danger when you never thought it could happen. You can have emergency at anytime and under emergency, no one prepares for it.”
Chukwu said under these circumstances, the only way is to rely on insurance, if the affected person is an insurance policy holder and secondly, we are trying to develop a special fund that can be guaranteed by government.
He however appealed to Nigerians to take up some form of insurance.
If people fail to take insurance, Chukwu said there will be a problem, because someone must provide the funds for emergency care, otherwise hospitals handling emergencies without payment will ultimately close down.
Culled from Nigerian Compass