Eket (Akwa Ibom) – The Akwa Ibom Government is yet to pay the outstanding N100 million medical bills accumulated by patients who received treatment in private hospitals after a church building collapsed in Uyo on Dec. 10, 2017.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, said in Eket that the governor had paid N200 million in medical bills and was still trying to raise money to pay the outstanding N100 million.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the incident, which claimed 30 lives, occurred during the bishopric enthronement of the founder of Reigners’ Bible Church, Apostle Akan Weeks.
The commissioner described the incident as unfortunate, adding, however, that nobody should blame the governor.
“A year ago there was an unfortunate incident where a church collapsed and killed so many people.
“When the church collapsed, 18 people died at the spot and 12 other people died outside which became 30 people who died, ” Ukpong said.
The commissioner said many patients who were treated in various private hospitals could not pay their medical bills.
According to him, the hospitals were insisting on payment of their medical bills and the governor took it upon himself to pay.
“I didn’t have the the money to pay, but the governor asked me to tell them (hospitals) not to charge the patients and that he will pay them,’’ he said.
He, however, said the bills were high because government had shown a commitment to pay, adding that there were instances where a patient was charged N9 million in medical bills.
“By the time all the bills came in, they went as far as several hundreds of millions and the state could not pay all the bills at the same time,” he said.
He also said one of the victims was paralysed during the incident and the governor directed the Head of Service to pay her salary for the rest of her life.
Ukpong further added that the state government bought a wheelchair and special bed for the victim.
The commissioner restated government’s commitment to improving health services for the benefit of the people of the state. (NAN)