Uproar over N10,000 Ebola test charge by UCH Ibadan

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Ibadan | 16 September 2014 | 4,570 times

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The University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State, has introduced N10,000 charge for Ebola test but the development has led to an uproar by the public.

The charge has also engendered palpable worry among the people in Oyo State, who have been thronging the hospital to confirm whether or not they are infected with the dreaded virus.

The heavy traffic is also informed by the position of foreign missions that those seeking visa to their countries must produce certificates indicating that they are free of the Ebola virus. Nigeria came under Ebola attack in late July when the virus was imported into the country by late Liberian American Patrick Sawyer but the situation was quickly brought under control after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency days after the outbreak of the disease.

News Express has in the past few days been receiving complaints from worried Oyo residents complaining that they were being charged an outrageous N10,000 for the Ebola test by UCH. Investigations confirmed this to be true. In addition, desperate test seekers have to pay a N1,600 compulsory consultancy fee.

Yesterday, those who could not afford the money were turned back. One of them who spoke with News Express on the condition of anonymity asked: “What happens if this 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?”

Another victim, a woman bitterly remarked after being turned back because she could not afford the fees: “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 to be tested and certified. After going through the rigorous procedure of registration and screening at the General Out-Patient Department (GOPD), a skeptical 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.”

The UCH Management has yet to respond to the complaints.

Source: News Express

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