The Free Maternal Healthcare initiative introduced by the erstwhile John Kufuor administration, is no long in full operation, as new mothers at the LEKMA General hospital at Teshie in the Greater Accra Region, have been detained for failing to settle their medical bills.
The young mothers, numbering six, had been at the hospital for close to a month with their babies, mostly because they could not afford to settle their bills, totaling almost GHc10, 000.
It is said to be a usual occurrence at the health facility, The Herald gathered.
While some were delivered through Cesarean Section (CS), others delivered naturally, but their babies were not healthy enough and so they were put in incubators.
Not able to settle the unexpected bills, the new mothers were forced to stay in the hospital, although the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Ledzokuku and a Deputy Minister of Health, Bernard Okoe Boye weekly goes to offer consultancy services at LEKMA.
The mothers and the babies had hoped for a Good Samaritan to come to their aid, and indeed, after their long wait, that Samaritan came their way in the person of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Benjamen Narteh Ayiku.
He heard of their predicament, he offered to assist immediately that same day Monday, August 17, 2020.
The Herald, gathered their issue came to his attention when he went to the hospital to check up on a mother and her triplets.
Mr Ayiku, quickly organized his Constituency executives to on his behalf, go and settle the debts, so the mothers and their babies could safely go home.
Hurriedly, the party delegation, visited the hospital without the PC, to pay the about GHc10, 000 to bring relief to the women and their families.
Speaking to the media after the payment at the maternity block, the Constituency Chairman of the Ledzokuku Constituency, Joseph Adjei Mensah, said the gesture is one of the many things the PC has been embarking, even before he became NDC's candidate for the December 7, polls.
He revealed there are more mothers and their babies languishing at in hospital and that there will be similar arrangements for them to settle their bills.
"Even, there are more people inside who wish we paid for them but this is the first part of it we will come back and deal with the others". He explained the gesture was not for vote but it is one of the many supports the PC periodically offers to the constituents.
According to him, their information was that, although the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), covered part of their bills, a very significant amount could not cover them.
He called for the review of the Scheme and said that if the NDC comes to power, it will look to implementation and streamline to bring comfort to, especially the vulnerable.
He assured the NDC's candidate, would continue to assist and even more, if becomes the MP in 2021.
One of the mothers, Diana Deidei Mensah, said her bill comprised GHc800 for her baby and GHc1, 500 for her, making GHc2, 300.
The relieved mothers who took turns to speak, said they were grateful to Mr Ayiku for the concern and benevolence shown towards them and prayed that he wins the impending election. The six separately promised to vote massively for him together with their families.
They lamented how they had to spend everything they had on them for drugs and other services, insisting both maternal and NHIS programmes are not working.
"The Health Insurance, it is not working, we had no money after paying for a lot of the things. We noticed that the Insurance covers only less expensive drugs the rest are to be borne by the patient.
We did not expect this help to come our way and so we are grateful to the PC and we pray that he wins the seat. Later on, Mr Ayiku called on Dr Okoe Boye to use part of the MP's Common Fund to assist such women in his last time as an MP. He promised to institute a welfare fund for such purpose and more.
"I humbly wish to appeal to our Member of Parliament to use part of the common fund on this last three months of his tenure in office as MP to nib this recurring phenomenon in the bud. I pledge to institute a welfare fund that will provide support to our women in need from the point of conception to childbirth when God willing I become your Member of Parliament (MP)" he said.
According to Mr Ayiku, the NDC leadership under John Dramani Mahama, through its free primary healthcare policy, would ensure our free maternal healthcare policy would include both mother and child and complication associated with childbirth.
Women are the backbone of every society and we must endevour to provide protection and comfort for them at their point of need", he concluded in a facebook post.
The Constituency Secretary, Isaac Atippoe, commended the candidate and described him as an "asset" that must be kept for the development of the area.
He regretted the incumbent who doubles as a Deputy Health Minister, despite being in a privileged position to help, has failed to assist the deprived mothers. Effort to speak to hospital officials was unsuccessful, as they all declined to go on record.