April 5 saw dozens upon dozens of Pregnant women in Ondo, Nigeria gather outside of the outside of the Ondo State Specialist Hospital to protest the skyrocketing prices of antenatal care. The women are pointing their fingers at Rotimi Akeredolu’s administration who is now charging the women 25,000 Nigerian Naira for deliveries. Under the former administration’s free birth policy, deliveries used to be completely free.
For hours the hospital entrance and hospital road were blocked by over a hundred mothers who protested by singing anti-government songs and cursed. They even went as far as preventing hospital staff from leaving or entering the building. This certainly stopped many doctors from carrying out their daily duty.
The cost of their antenatal bill has been risen by over 300%. One of the ladies explained the ordeal best when she was interviewed by PUNCH Metro. She stated, “We used to pay N1,000 for registration, while delivery was free. 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,”
They are now demanding that the Akeredolu reverse these charges and make things back to how they were. These changes have resulted in many pregnant women pushing away from the hospitals and taking matters into their own hands. Some have started seeking alternative medical treatments, while others are simply neglecting to get themselves treated. Actions such as these can result in major health problems throughout the country.
Many of the pregnant women are finding price hike to be unfair seeing as for years before this, most pregnant women were being cared for completely free of cost. We cannot be certain in these protest will bring major change or just be in complete vain. One thing they’re certain to get is answers.