Pregnant women protest closure of Benin hospital
Pregnant women, yesterday, protested the alleged closure of antenatal care services at the Edo Central Hospital in Benin City.
The women stormed the Edo State Council Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), complaining they were scheduled to attend antenatal care only to get to the clinic to be directed to go home and return January 11 next year. They claimed they were told the hospital had been closed down.
The spokesperson for the women, Happy Imafidon, said: “We got here and we were told no antenatal care from today, December 22. The nurses announced that from December 22, there would be no antenatal care because it has been closed till January 11.
“We asked what if anyone has issues, before January 11, they told us that we should go to private hospitals that it is an order from above.
“We cannot suddenly go to a private hospital. Firstly, we don’t have the money and then secondly some of these private hospitals don’t have qualified personnel, that is why we always come to the government hospitals,” she said.
Reacting to the protest, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Obehi Akoria, accompanied by the Managing Director of the Central Hospital, Dr. Duncan Iyawe, attributed the protest to a communication gap between the health workers and the patients, adding that the government has made proper arrangements to take care of pregnant women, mobilised vehicles to convey the aggrieved women back to receive care at the hospital.
Akoria said: “We joined the antenatal with the labour ward so that all will be in the same place. That is the plan. We will ensure 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.”