Pregnant women denied antenatal at Lagos federal hospital

The Federal Medical Centre in Ebutte Metta Lagos turns away pregnant women
Pregnant women at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, in Ebute-Metta, Lagos, on Monday called for a review of the hospital’s policy that institutionalises only 20 women for ante-natal clinic.

Some of the women, who spoke in Lagos, appealed to the management to reconsider their stand on the policy, insisting that it was an unfair practice to pregnant women.

The clinic holds only on Mondays- once a week.

A mother of two, Ijeoma Ndubisi, who resides in Badagry, said she chose the FMC because of its efficiency.

“I was residing around this area before I moved to Badagry and this is where I have been receiving treatment. I left home around 4:00 a.m. but I still did not make the first 20 pregnant women today.

“They are efficient here, but the issue of just 20 women is not good enough. They should please have a re-think,” she urged.

Another pregnant woman, Latifat Suleiman, said she chose the hospital due to her medical history.

“The reason for choosing this place is because of my medical history; the FMC knows what is wrong with me and will know what to do in case of emergency.

“If I have to go to another clinic, I will have to go through all the medical procedures again and it is a long process,”’ she said.

The hospital’s policy of only 20 women in an antenatal clinic hits the pregnant women hard. The women complain about the inconveniences they go through to meet the antenatal appointments, yet, they are being turned away.

“I got here around 6:00 a.m. and saw a long queue. I was shocked. The most shocking aspect was when they said they would take just 15 general patients and five members of staff.

“It is unfair that it is just this number that would be attended to. I had to wake up early and take care of my first child before coming,’’ Ms. Suleiman said.

She appealed to the management to re-consider the policy, saying that it is detrimental to the health of pregnant women who opted to use the hospital.

“I am begging the management to look at this policy. The place is close to my house and I do not want to use a private hospital,” she said.

Joe Ademola, 32, who accompanied his wife to the hospital for ante-natal, said they left their home at Mowe in Ogun, at 4:00 a.m. only to be the 18th on the queue.

“How can we leave home at 4 o’clock from Mowe, get here early and take number 18, and they are attending to only 15 women?

“What kind of decision is that? Government should please do something about it. It is unfair,” he said.

A first time ante-natal patient, Happiness Anieke, said she was unhappy with the policy, and it was her third time of being to the hospital without being attended to.

“I was told by a friend who had given birth at FMC that they are good, especially their consultants and gynaecologists. But, what I have experienced again today is not encouraging.

“I left Okota very early, got here at 6:00 a.m., but the queue alone was disheartening and when the nurses came, they told us they were only attending to 20 people.

“They said we should try again very early next Monday. Do I have to leave home by2:00 a.m. because of such a policy? The policy is not fair,” she said.

The women appealed to the government and the management of the hospital to consider organising the ante-natal clinic twice a week.

“It is even unfair that ante-natal is just on Mondays– without you having the hope of being attended to.

“They should please consider twice a week because of those of us that missed the Monday clinic. I also want to register early because am a first time (expectant) mother,” Titilayo Akande, another pregnant
woman said.

Only 28 spaces available

Reacting to the development, a top official of the FMC who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the clinic had just 28 beds for pregnant women.

“We have just 28 beds in the ward and 20 is used on daily basis, while eight is for those pregnant women admitted on emergency.

“Concerning the issue of having ante-natal clinic twice a week, we were doing it before but we saw that this place usually looked like a market-place.

“There was a time we tried to do more than 20 patients but it was reported by the press that we were over-crowding the clinic,” she said.

Majority of the women, about 25 of them, were turned away from the hospital without being attended to.



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