Patients in Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, have bemoaned the hike in charges for treatment and other services by the management of the hospital.
The management of AKTH recently up surged charges for services and treatment in the Kano referral hospital that often draws patients from all parts of northern Nigeria including Niger Republic.
Patients and their relatives told The Star that the sharp increase has dramatically affected their finances amid the tough economic situation in the country.
“The recent hike of hundred percent increment in the service fee and other services by the management of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) deprivation of accessibility to better health services,” a patient told The Star.
A patient at GOP also said the increase in service fee is now over 100% in some cases.
Malam Ahmad Adam said he paid N2300 before his hospital hand card could be replaced after he lost the first one.
“I lost my hand card and I come for renewal, I was charged N2,300. Service fee has been doubled too,” he said.
Another outpatient, who preferred anonymity, corroborated that fees were hiked by the management of the hospital.
The patient said: “The service fee has been increased; in fact, doubled. Hundred percent increase. It used to be N1,050 but now it’s N2,100. To see a doctor was N500 before, now it is N1,000. To open file was N500 now it is N1,000, and they charge N100 instead of N50 for service now.”
Musa Jibrin, who was at the emergency unit with his sick relative, said the development had already impacted negatively on their financial muscle, adding: “That is exactly what we are experiencing.
“We paid N40, 000 instead of N20, 000 in the past, and after three or thereabout, they said your money has finished and you have to pay again. I just pray that may Allah bless us with the resources to pay,” Jibrin said.
Also narrating his ordeal to The Star, one Abdullahi who was also at the hospital with his sick relative, said: “I have a patient. We were admitted a few days ago and I deposited N40, 000, in less than one week I was told the money has finished.
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“I was now asked to pay another N80, 000. Everything in this hospital has increased exponentially. I can’t just understand what is happening. The poor cannot afford to be coming to this hospital for treatment.”
It was, however, gathered that the situation is similar across all the units and sections of the hospital.
Ibrahim Ado, whose wife was delivered a baby through Caesarean Section (CS), narrated how he depleted his purse to save his wife.
Ado said: “I brought my wife here. She had CS. Although I didn’t plan to come here, I had no option when I went to other hospitals and they referred me here. I paid N130, 000 first for the operation and N40, 000 for bed.
“With everything, I spent over N200, 000 in this hospital and still counting since we have not been discharged. We have come here because it is the last resort to save the baby and the mother. I really got pissed off. The hospital isn’t for the poor.”
Similarly, residents of Kano told The Star that the recent increment in the hospital’s charges was a systematic way to deny them from seeking treatment at the hospital.
Reacting to the patients’ and general public’s complaints about the fee hike, the Director, Information and Public Relations AKTH, Hajia Hauwa Abdullahi, said the increase in the charges in the hospital was influenced by general changes in market and the economy which she said also affected AKTH.
Abdullahi said some of the supplies like consumables are determined by market forces of demand and supply.
She said the management of the hospital was working to fix the problem of the hospital using “little resources” at their disposal.
“Government doesn’t give what is needed to take care of the hospital. And the hospital has to provide for itself. LGAs and state governments have failed.
“All people of Kano, everyone comes to AKTH. Primary healthcare and even secondary hospitals aren’t functioning. The hospital is overburdened; AKTH is a referral centre. It should not do things that PHCs can handle,” Abdullahi said.
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