Free Health Care Not Free In Port Loko
The free health care scheme was launched in April 2010 by President Ernest Bai Koroma in order to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates in the country but certain medical practitioners are still bent on sabotaging the scheme. (Photo: Health Minister, Haja Zainab Hawa Bangura)
The latest of such saboteurs is from the Port Loko Government hospital in which reports state on 29th February, 2012, a mother of two- year old Saidu Conteh had to pay Le 25, 000 for prescription and Le 50,000 for blood transfusion to Nurse Isatu and Pharmacist Koroma In-charge of the Hospital Pharmacy.
“I am left to wonder in this difficult economic situation that Medical Practitioners could demand money from poor parents for medical service that is supposed to be free for lactating mothers, pregnant women and children”. She narrated.
The lactating mother further explained that it is habitual for medical practitioners in that part of the country to be demanding money for medical service contrary to the ideals of the Free Health Care.
She said the worst could happen in the remote areas where medication is a luxury.
She called on authorities to be vigilant on the monitoring of the scheme and bring to book any one caught sabotaging the scheme and to put certain measures against those found wanting.
She said the increase in the salaries of health workers did not solve the problem as they keep extorting from patients every day.
Dr. Lebbie, Port Loko District Medical Officer when contacted, said he was at a meeting with the Port Loko District Council but quickly clarified that in the Free Health Care Scheme, blood is not included, stating further that he has no knowledge of lactating mothers, pregnant women and children under five paying for medicines.
Dr. Young, Port Loko Medical Superintendent, denied having knowledge of such allegations.
By A. R. Bedor
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