Over a hundred expectant mothers on Thursday thronged the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, to protest high charges for deliveries collected by the hospital.
The pregnant women, who shut down the hospital for the better part of the day, described the bills collected by the hospital as outrageous and not commensurate with the services rendered.
They urged the governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, to reverse the trend.
Some of the women, who spoke with journalists, listed the charges as: N25,000 for delivery, N50,000 for Caesarean Section and other ”unjustified charges ranging from N500 to N4000.”
They alleged that the hospital officials were collecting the charges ”on the orders from the state government.”
The angry women ensured the ante-natal section did not open for activities and also closed the main gates of the hospital for several hours.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Wahaab Adegbenro, saved the day, as he came to pacify the aggrieved protesters.
Some women who gave birth to their children at the hospital, also complained that the hospital failed to provide them with drugs and other materials during delivery even after making the payments.
They also called on Mr Akeredolu to look into the poor service delivery at the hospital, just as they mentioned that the obstetrics and gynaecology sections should be given a facelift for use by nursing and expectant mothers.
While speaking on the development, the health commissioner said the issues raised by the women would be addressed by the government.
Mr Adegbenro, however, said medical bills for pregnant women were not ”as high” as being alleged by protesting women.
“The era of free medicare has gone in Ondo state, residents should be patient and with the state government,” he said.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Moses Adewole, said only N9500 was being charged contrary to the allegations by the women.
Under the Olusegun Mimiko administration, delivery was free in all the public hospitals, while the government invested a lot of funds on “mother and child” hospitals, specifically to cater for pregnant women and children.
The state received then several awards and accolades from international organisations for its achievements in bringing child and maternal mortality down.
The Mimiko government also abolished the traditional birth attendants which accounted for the highest rate of maternal mortality and provided alternative employments for the attendants.
There are fears that the gains of the last administration in the health sector is being reversed, with news that some traditional birth attendants were returning to their old trade.