…gives hospitals till November 1 to release patients
By O’star Eze
A sickle cell advocate, Mrs Aisha Edward, has decried the ‘cut throat’ hospital bill and illegal detention sickle cell patients in Anambra State receive from hospitals across the state while calling on all hospitals to release all sickle cell patients held against their will or face the wrath of the law.
Speaking recently during a press conference in her office in Anambra State, Edward said that she is bedeviled by series of complaints from members of her association who have been allegedly held for over one year after treatment by certain hospitals in the state because of their inability to clear the high hospital bills they have incurred.
Displaying some hospital bills from various hospital; private and mission, running between N200,000 (Two hundred thousand naira) and 1.2 million naira per patient, Edward insisted there was no reason a sickle cell patient should incur such bill because of a health crisis.
“It is a pity that HIV patients are given free treatment, free drugs and counseling sessions while sickle cell patients like us who are sickly for no fault of our own are made to pay through our noses to get medical attention.
“I am appalled that the hospitals that charge us most are church owned hospitals and I wonder what we have done wrong to attract such cold treatment from the society,” she said.
The advocate, who is also the national coordinator of Association of People Living with Sickle Cell Disorder, then warned all hospitals in the state to release all sickle cell patients who are due for discharge on or before November 1, 2018 or face the wrath of the law.
Edward alleged that the association’s investigation has revealed that some hospitals detain sickle cell patients to use them for raising funds from well to do members of the society who visit hospitals during festive periods.
She said the association will engage private investigators to carry out further investigations to get more statistic and detail on the issue from all the hospitals in the state.
Mrs Edward opined that if the sickle cell bill is passed at the Anambra State House of Assembly, it will “go a long way in cushioning the cost and strain of the frequent medical attention Sickle Cell patients need.”
She therefore called on Governor Willie Obiano and members of Anambra State House of Assembly to have pity on sickle cell patients and pass the bill which encapsulates all the promises hitherto made by the governor.
“The governor promised us three sickle cell specialist hospitals in the three senatorial zones, subsidized blood bank and a bus over three years ago. These have been captured by the bill, including checking the use of sickle cell patients as guinea pigs by some medical practitioners as well as other inhuman treatments meted out against sickle cell patients.
“It is more than three years now since the bill has been in the house of assembly and it is yet to be passed. This is why sickle cell patients are still going through a lot of hardship and abuse the most recent of which is this detaining of members against their will and using them for raising funds,” the advocate said.