Fear Grips Oyo Indigenes as UCH Charges High Fee for Ebola Test
By Mayowa Okekale
The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has introduced a policy of collection of sum of 10,000 naira for Ebola test, to ascertain their status, being a development not welcomed by people of the state.
However, this measure has engendered palpable worry among the people in Oyo State who are likely to find it difficult to know their test results, except the hospital management sees to the peoples’ plights and reverses its policy on the exorbitant fees on patients who have been thronging the hospital, to confirm whether or not they are infected with the dreaded virus.
Moreover, the need for the test, according to some people in the state, rose from the stigmatisation by foreign mission who have been insisting, since the outbreak of the disease in the country, that Nigerian travellers wanting o enter their countries must produce certificates indicating they are free of the Ebola virus.
Newsexpress, during its investigations at UCH, yesterday, learnt that patients thronging the hospital to ascertain their status of the vírus were turned back when they could not afford the sum of N10,000 as being demanded by the hospital authorities. Even at that, patients have to pay the N1,600 compulsory consultancy fee.
One of the victims who spoke to Newsexpress on the condition
of anonymity, asked, “What happens if these set of people have contracted the Ebola disease? And besides, in this
emergency situation, must UCH charge fees for people to know their status when the entire population is living in fear of
the deadly virus?”.
An insider sources said even before the outbreak of Ebola, the hospital could only boast of three Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hence making a mockery
of the management’s position in its readiness to combat the scourge without putting in place the necessary measures.
While recounting her ordeal when approached, a woman who was affected by the fees, bitterly remarked: “As an official prerequisite for the release of my
son’s visa and mine, we were expected to submit a certified medical report, certifying us free of the Ebola virus to the Iranian embassy in Abuja. As a result, my son and I headed to the UCH, Ibadan, to be tested and certified. After going through the rigorous procedure of registration and screening at the General Out-Patient Department (GOPD), a sceptical doctor issued us two leaves of laboratory/investigation paper which I was told to
take to the virology department where the test was to be conducted.
“The laboratory attendant demanded that I should pay N20,000 as test fee: N10,000 for each of us. I was dazed that
a federal government medical facility could charge us such an outrageous amount for a ravaging virus they claimed they are curtailing”.
However, many of the top doctors in the teaching hospital were said to have queried the management’s reported stance on the Ebola menace, wondering what would happen if indeed the hospital ever records an Ebola case.
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