Some pregnant women disrupted activities at the Ondo State Specialist Hospital, Akure, on Thursday, as they protested against alleged outrageous bills charged for their antenatal care by the state government.
The protesters alleged that the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration had begun to charge N25,000 for deliveries, as against the free birth policy of the former administration.
The expectant mothers, numbering over 100, blocked the main entrance into the hospital and Hospital Road, Akure, for several hours.
The women cursed and sang anti-government songs, as they prevented workers at the government hospital from going in or coming out of the premises.
The protesters explained that the government increased the cost of their antenatal bill by over 300 per cent, adding that some of the services used to be free.
They called on Akeredolu to reverse the increment.
One of them, who spoke to Punch Metro, noted that during the administration of the previous government, they used to pay N1,000 for registration, while delivery was free.
“But now, the registration fee has been increased to N4,000. We have to pay N500 for every antenatal appointment and N25,000 for a normal delivery,” she added.
Another protester, who identified herself as Mrs. Wuraola Ajani, said she had been paying the new fees since she registered at the beginning of this year.
She said, “The hospital workers told us that they had been ordered by the state government to collect the new fees, and we were not given any receipt for them.”
The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Moses Adewole, who denied the development, said there was no increase in the cost of delivery for pregnant women at the hospital.
He, however, said the newly introduced N500 for every antenatal appointment was introduced by the management to subsidise the running cost of the hospital.
He appealed to the protesting pregnant women to cooperate with the management.