Patients and caregivers mourn as AKTH hikes service fees

With patients from all over Nigeria and as many from neighboring countries like Niger Republic, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) in Kano State has served the healthcare needs of millions of patients, but Recently, most of these patients are now in the throes of determining whether or not to continue with the hospital or seek an alternative following the recent increase in fees on almost all services rendered by the hospital. Patients and their caregivers said it drove them to the wall. But the hospital’s management said the upward adjustment must be accepted by the people due to the fact that the hospital does not operate in isolation from the country’s economic realities. Daily reports from Trust Saturday.

Lubabatu I. Garba, Aminu A. Naganye & Sadiq Adamu (Kano)

PPatients and caregivers have continued to lament the recent increase in fees for services and other services by the management of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), describing it as a decision to deny them access to quality health services.

They said it was alarming that AKTH, which is a public hospital, could decide to suddenly increase its fees by one hundred percent in the face of daunting economic challenges, pushing more Nigerians below the poverty line.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that the hospital management has recently increased its fees for services and treatment with the development leaving thousands of patients and caregivers who travel to the hospital daily from all over Nigeria and as far as Niger Republic in the confusion.

Patients and their relatives said Daily Trust Saturday that the sharp increase has significantly affected their finances in the context of the country’s difficult economic situation.

A GODP patient recounted Daily Trust Saturday that the increase in service charges is well over 100% in some cases.

Malam Ahmad Adam said he paid 2,300 naira before his hospital card could be replaced after losing the first one.

“I lost my hand card and came for renewal, I was charged N2,300. The service charge was also doubled,” he said.

Another outpatient, who preferred his identity to be concealed, corroborated Malam Adam’s position that charges have been increased across the board.

“What used to be N1,050 is now N2,100. To see a doctor it used to be N500, now it’s N1,000. To open a file it was N500, now it’s N1,000. And they are now charging N100 instead of N50 for service fee,” the patient explained.

A carer, Musa Jibrin, who was in the emergency room with his sick relative, said the changes had already taken a toll on their financial muscle.

“We paid N40,000 instead of N20,000 we paid in the past and after about three days they say your money is gone and we have to pay again. I just pray that Allah grants us the resources to pay,” he said.

Another carer, who gave his name simply as Abdullahi said: ‘We were admitted a few days ago and I deposited N40,000 and within a week I was told the money was over. I have now been asked to pay an additional N80,000. Everything in this hospital has grown exponentially. I just can’t figure out what’s going on. Poor people cannot afford to come to this hospital for treatment.

Mukhtar Auwal, whose relative was admitted to the women’s ward of the hospital, also lamented the huge amount of money he spent over the past two weeks.

He added that it was unfortunate that in recent days the hospital turned out to be like the expensive private hospitals in the city.

Another patient, who came to the hospital for antenatal consultations, said Daily Trust Saturday that she has decided to leave the hospital for another because she cannot afford the new charges.

“I do all my prenatal consultations and my delivery in this hospital. This is my fourth pregnancy. I had no idea of ​​the increases until I came now. I will leave for another hospital where I can afford,” she lamented.

Another customer, Malam Ado Sale, said Daily Trust Saturday that, “It is now better to take patients to a private hospital because what we are going through lately has damaged the credibility of the hospital, we are now paying almost what private hospitals charge”, he said. he declares.

Sale, like others, believes that AKTH, as a referral hospital, always takes care of cases that need to be taken care of in primary health care centers and, as such, the medical queue. The wait at each service point is still inexplicable, adding that it is given what people normally go through before receiving medical care, coupled with the rising fees that will force most of them to visit in private hospitals. He noted that at least in private hospitals, which naturally charge more, a doctor will attend to you almost immediately after you arrive.

He, however, called on the government to quickly address the situation in AKTH for the sake of the Nigerian masses.

“It’s obvious that something needs to be done quickly to help patients and caregivers at the hospital,” he said.

When contacted, hospital spokesman Hajiya Hauwa Muhammed Abdullahi said market forces were determining the “right increase” in hospital services, calling on the public to bear the situation.

She said that the hospital like all other facilities mainly runs on its generator which uses diesel to provide electricity as the hospital is poorly supplied with electricity by the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO).

“AKTH buys diesel at the same gas station that others buy. AKTH spends millions of naira every day on buying diesel. We use diesel to provide electricity and also to pump water from our boreholes,” she said, further appealing to patients and caregivers to understand the situation that prompted the increase.