A six-week old baby suffering from convulsion has allegedly been left by health officials to die at the Zebilla District Hospital in the Upper East Region because the mother could not afford the cost of a patient folder – GHC10.
The baby was sent to the Hospital at about 8:00pm on Monday with a suspected case of convulsion but officials at the Folder Unit of the Hospital demanded she paid GHC10 before a folder could be issued her to see a doctor.
According to the 35-year-old Azumah Atiah, though she informed those at the Folder Unit that she is a subscriber of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), they told her NHIS does not cover the cost of patient folder.
Narrating her ordeal to TV3’s Rabiu Tanko Mohammed on Tuesday, she said the officials at the Unit insisted she paid the GHC10 but unfortunately, she had only GHC5 on her at the time.
Ms Atiah said all pleas to them to take the GHC5 as a part payment so her baby could get medical attention proved futile as the officials were not ready to accept anything less the stated amount.
The situation, she said, forced her to leave the baby alone on a bench at the Hospital’s Out Patient Department, and rushed to town with the hope of finding extra GHC5 to make up for the full cost.
Unfortunately, Ms Atiah said she returned to the Hospital 30 minutes later without any success.
When she got back to the Hospital, she said the baby’s situation had worsened, noting she was foaming in the mouth and her temperature too had gone high.
According to Atiah, she became dejected, and continued to plead with the officials to at least give her baby medical attention while she tried to get the money but no one was willing to listen.
She said when she thought all hopes were lost, a man who saw her frustration offered her GHC5 and she immediately rushed to get the folder for the baby girl but it was too late.
Ms Atiah said just when she moved about 10 metres to see a doctor, she realised the baby had died.
Meanwhile, the body of the baby has since been released to the bereaved family for burial.
The devastated Atiah did not understand why she was made to go through such situation at the expense of the life of her baby girl, especially so when she is a subscriber of the national health insurance scheme.
She is demanding investigations into the issue and where necessary, appropriate sanctions applied.
Assembly member for Aramkoliga a suburb of Zebilla, Layo Nduy Nguy, who was not happy and questioned why the officials should let the baby die because of GHC5.
He has consequently backed the call for investigations into the incident.Meanwhile, when contacted by 3News on Tuesday, the Bawku West District Health Director, Samuel Aruba, apologized for the unfortunate incident but pointed out that the Medical Director and the Matron at the Hospital were unaware of what really happened at the facility.
Investigation has started already started and that findings would be made public when ready.