By Chidi Nkwopara
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has been urged to ensure the immediate release of numerous patients held hostage in the state government-owned hospitals over the inability to pay their medical bills.
The former governorship candidate of African Action Congress, AAC, Mrs Chidi Omeogu-Ogbuta, made the call yesterday in a public memo she sent to Okorocha.
She said: “In Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu, there are numerous patients held hostage for several weeks in the hospital due to non-payment of hospital bills and thus subjected to emotional abuse and forcibly separated from their families.”
She said a one-year-old baby was admitted November 21, 2018, treated and discharged December 6, 2018, but “the mother and child from Ideato North Local Government Area of the state have been detained for about six weeks in the midst of other sick children, exposing the child to re-infection.”
Apart from this little child, the lady also said she noticed “a backlog of discharged patients held hostage for weeks.
“These patients include men/fathers in the Orthopaedic Unit who are the breadwinners of their families but kept jobless and hostage, and their families hungry and angry.
“The most distressing part of this horrible attitude is that similar scenario of illegal detention of patients playing out in other government hospitals throughout the state.”
, the lady said.
She told Okorocha that “this prolonged and backlog of detained patients, due to non-payment of the hospital bill, is strong evidence of your failure to achieve Universal Health Coverage for Imolites that are experiencing financial hardship”.
Omeogu-Ogbuta equally lamented that in this 21st Century, life expectancy for Imolites is abysmally low, while the mortality rate for mothers, infants and children younger than five, increased significantly.
“Nearly 600 women die in every 100,000 live births, and this number continues to increase due to the induced fear of hospital detention by your administration, and so many pregnant women have resorted to delivering their babies at home. This has led to many deaths due to birth complications during delivery”, Omeogu-Ogbuta told Okorocha.