Some youths under the aegis of National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Anambra Chapter, have called on Gov. Willie Obiano to reduce the cost of medical services in public health institutions in the state.
The group, led by Mr Stephen Nwosu, alleged that there were increases in the cost of healthcare services in the institutions.
They identified some areas affected as maternal and child care and surgeries.
In a petition entitled, Request for Reversal of Price Increment in Medical Healthcare Services, the youths said the increases were coming at a time when the masses were facing difficulties.
They said rather than increase the cost of services, the government should provide certain services free in line with what the programmes of the Federal Government.
“Sir we wish to inform you that there is a bill at the National Assembly for total free medical healthcare service for all citizens in order to increase life expectancy, which many states are already keying into.
“On this premise, we, the Anambra youth, found it explicit to register our displeasure with hikes in medical services in public hospitals..
“Anambra people are entitled to free medicare in line with MDG, SDGs, we pray you sir to revert to status quo and even declare free medical services in the state,” they said.
Reacting, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Josephat Akabuike, disclosed that the state government had not authorised any increment in charges.
Akabuike said he had yet to receive the petition but added that the state government could not have approved any increase in charges at this time even when it had become necessary.
Acknowledging that the state-owned Ojukwu Vasity Hospital Management Board had increased the cost of services; Akabuike said the ministry ordered immediate reversal of the increase.
“We are not aware of the increment, I read in the social media that the teaching hospital had increased prices and the government frowned at it and ordered immediate reversal.
“As I am talking to you now, though I have not seen any petition, there is no increment, the costs of services are still the same as before,” he said.
Also, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Lawrence Ikeako, said the management had met with government and reverted the charges.
Ikeako said that the cost of providing services in the hospital was unsustainable with the times and pleaded with the state government to increase subvention to the facility.
He said the increase was in conformity with the general increase in prices and to keep the outfit afloat but was suspended due to outcry of patients.
“As we are talking now there is no increase in the cost of our services; we suspended the review after meeting with government but some people just want to play cheap politics with it.
“There is increase in the cost of what we provide here, we pay about a million naira on electricity we are not supplied and powering our generators round the clock takes another N1.3 to N1.5 million monthly.
“What we are now pleading is that government should increase subvention to the hospital to enable us to cover cost and also the Federal Government to increase energy supply to the country,” he said.