Health Care: Antenatal, child delivery services not free in Government hospitals in Lagos

The residents spoke in separate interviews on Sunday in Lagos. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during a media chat on February 22, announced sweeping interventions which the state will be implementing to reduce the effects of the current economic hardship on its citizens.

On health, Mr Sanwo-Olu reintroduced a free child delivery programme for expectant mothers in all the state-owned general hospitals and special maternity centres.

According to the governor, Lagos will take up the cost of the child delivery, including caesarean section, and reduce the cost of certain drugs, such as hypertension medication.

The residents said the free antenatal and child delivery services were lip service, stressing that the hospitals charged for every service rendered.

Funmilayo Olatunji, a trader who delivered at Ikorodu Health Centre, Ita-Elewa, said delivery was not free.

“I had a normal delivery at the centre in February 2024. We paid N8,000 for child delivery fees, N10,500 for vaginal tear, and a carton of Maltina. I’m surprised to hear that the child delivery service was meant to be free at government facilities because the reverse was my experience,” she said.

Similarly, Michael Adebiyi, whose wife delivered at Ikorodu General Hospital, Ebute, said he spent over N250,000 for caesarean section delivery and consumables at the hospital.

“My wife gave birth in February, and we paid for everything needed for the delivery, from blood to caesarean section charges. Nothing was free; in fact, I’m still owing some people because I had to run around to source the money.

“I was happy when I heard last year that expectant mothers would enjoy free child delivery services at government health facilities as part of relief measures to ease the economic burden on families.

“The government should put mechanisms in place to ensure that policies made truly impact the lives of citizens,” he said.

Also, Stella Nwosu, a hairstylist, said that she switched to a trado-medical centre for antenatal and child delivery due to the high service charges.

“Sometime in September, I went to Amuwo-Odofin General Hospital to register for antenatal service and was told to pay ₦30,000. We couldn’t afford it because every child care item is expensive and to feed is even a challenge. My mother-in-law took me to a traditional birth attendant, and I delivered my baby there,” she said.

A healthcare worker who pleaded anonymity said many pregnant women pay out-of-pocket for antenatal and delivery services at many government-owned facilities, noting that the programme requires improved planning, compliance monitoring, and management for sustainability.

The healthcare worker noted that the economic situation of the country, which led to increased costs of products, especially medicines and healthcare services, would worsen the plight of couples with unplanned pregnancies.

Mr Sanwo-Olu, also in 2023, during the state’s Security Council meeting on July 31, 2023, directed general hospitals and primary health care centres to offer free antenatal care and child delivery services.

This is part of relief measures to ease the burden of the fuel subsidy removal. The medical intervention will cover antenatal care costs, including registration and ANC clinics, as well as normal and cesarean section child delivery services.


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