By Ozioruva Aliu, Benin City.
Aggrieved pregnant women, yesterday, protested the closure of ante-natal care services at the Central Hospital, Benin City.
The women, who stormed the Edo State Council Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, claimed they were scheduled to attend ante-natal care but on getting to the clinic, they were directed to go home and return on January 11 next year, that the hospital had been closed down.
One of the protesters and spokesperson for the women, Happy Imafidon, said: “We got to the hospital and we were told no ante-natal care from today, December 22 (yesterday). The nurses announced that from December 22, there would be no ante-natal care because it has been closed till January 11.
“They asked us to go to private hospitals if any of us has issues before January 11, saying it is an order from above. A woman was already preparing for labour and she was told to go, we cannot suddenly go to a private hospital. First, we don’t have the money and second, some of these private hospitals don’t have qualified personnel, that is why we always come to the government-owned hospital.”
There’s provision for them —Govt
Reacting, Commissioner for Health, Professor Obehi Akoria, accompanied by the Managing Director of the Central Hospital, Dr Duncan Iyawe, attributed the incident to a communication gap between the health workers and the patients, explaining that the government had made proper arrangements to take care of pregnant women,
Akoria said: “We joined the ante-natal with the labour ward so that all will be in the same place. That is the plan. We will ensure the nurses communicate with you all properly. They didn’t pass the message well. We didn’t drive you from the central hospital. Upon your return to the hospital today, you will be booked and told the date and location when to come.”
There has been insinuation making the round that the state government plans to relocate the Central Hospital and in its place, build a park there.
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