Mile Four Maternity Hospital, Abakaliki in Ebonyi has decried extreme depletion on patients in hospitals due to the lockdown caused by Coronavirus pandemic.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the hospital, Mr Friday Ogbonna disclosed this on Tuesday in Abakaliki in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). Ogbonna, who spoke on behalf of the hospital management, said that the radical reduction experienced was due to paucity of fund and increase in prices of drugs. He explained that since the outbreak of the pandemic, indigent patients who were engaged on daily jobs, found it difficult to upset their hospital bills. The spokesperson added that the development had also resulted to increase in volume of Awaiting Bill Settlement (ABS) of patients.
He described patients on ABS as people who accessed medical services but were unable to pay their bills. “There is a very drastic reduction in patients’ attendance because many indigent patients depend on daily jobs such as mechanics, bricklayer among other low income jobs. “Mile Four hospital is a missionary hospital and our priority is to save life. No equilibrium in income flow,” Ogbonna said. According to him, currently, no doctor or nurse is retrenched following the development. He commended the state government for its supports so far and pleaded for more interventions from federal and state governments to settle bills owed by indigent patients. “With subvention and unconditional grants from governments will go a long way in settling indigent patients’ hospital bills,” Ogbonna said. Mrs Happiness Iloke and Agnes Ogbonna, in their separate interviews, noted that the ban on motorcycle in the state was a difficult situation for commuters. They said that the lockdown was associated with a lot of challenges such as difficulty in accessing transportation to get food and go to work as staff on essential duty. In his contributions, the Manager, San Diego Hotels Limited, Abakaliki, Mr Austine Egbude said that the development had affected the hospitality industry drastically. He expressed worry that customers no longer visited hotels due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown arising from it. “If this continues, we might shut down. Already, we have reduced number of workers by engaging them on shifts to observe the guidelines given by authorities. “I expect governments to manage food crisis to help manage the lockdown,” Egbude said. He commended the state government for taking a proactive measure to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic into the state. NAN also visited Island Comfort Suites and Hotels in Kpirikpiri where the management of the establishment corroborated the situation.