Some Pregnant women who patronize services of the Tolon District Health Centre, are accusing officials of the facility of extorting money from them anytime they attend antenatal clinic. Three pregnant women, who were turned away because of their inability to pay about GHc 80 before their blood samples would be taken disclosed their unhappiness about the situation to Diamond News.
“The nurses have asked me to go home because I don’t have 80 Cedis to give to them, this is my second month of being turned away from this facility because of the money. We are peasants and how do we raise such amount?” one frustrated pregnant woman narrated.
They claimed that they were supposed to be checked and treated freely because that was a policy under the NHIS, but monies are being extorted from them. “We weren’t paying any money to the Hospital until recently.”
Another pregnant woman complained to Diamond News that the nurses had demanded cash of 80 cedis before her blood sample would be taken and since she didn’t have that amount she had to leave.
A husband of one of the pregnant women, who also chose to be anonymous, narrated that;
“I came here with my wife, but we were asked to pay 80 Cedis before they would attend to her. We don’t have the money that is why we are going back home. Initially, it wasn’t like this in this facility. When your wife attend antenatal they would check and treat her freely until she puts to bed. I don’t understand why they now take money from us without telling us their reason.”
Meanwhile the administrator at the Tolon Hospital, Roger Balary, speaking to Diamond news corrected the wrong impression; saying all pregnant women attending antenatal care at the facility are required to undergo laboratory investigation to enable health officials manage them well during the period.
He explained that since the facility had no lab to conduct these tests, management of the Centre in consultation with other stakeholders agreed for a private laboratory at Nyankpala to conduct these tests on pregnant women who attend antenatal care in the facility.
Roger Balary indicated that the monies taken from the women do not go into the coffers of the facility neither does it go to the pockets of health officials.
“So it is palpably false that my staffs at the ANC are extorting money from pregnant women who patronize the facility to seek antenatal care. Of course monies are picked to the do the laboratory test we are talking about,” he clarified.