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11.10.2005 General News

Failure to settle medical bills, babies still at Korle-Bu

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Accra, Oct. 11, GNA - Forty-three babies at the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, who have been discharged are still in the wards due to the inability of their parents to settle their medical bills.

In addition, mothers of seven babies have in the past two months abandoned their babies at the Unit, Ms Theresa Crabbe, Principal Nursing Officer in charge of the Unit, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra on Tuesday.

She said that mothers of the discharged babies owed between 1.6 million cedis and 14 million cedis.

Ms Crabbe was speaking during the visit of officials of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as part of their 12th anniversary celebrations.

She said most of the mothers claimed to be paupers but the Department of Social Welfare had to investigate these claims. Ms Crabbe said the Unit, which was supposed to take care of 40 babies, was now catering for 81.

She explained that when mothers of abandoned babies did not show up for some time, they were screened and sent to the orphanage. "For the discharged babies, we have asked their mothers to at least pay half of their bills but their mothers are saying they just cannot afford."

Ms Crabbe explained that there had been many occasions when the Hospital and philanthropists had to pay for bills of babies whose parents could not pay.

She said babies with serious neo-natal cases were charged 500,000 cedis and those with minor cases were charged 300,000 cedis. A teenage mother, Ms Mary Afful, whose baby had been on admission for a month, told the GNA that the man, who made her pregnant, was no where to be found but her parents were trying to mobilise money to settle her bill of 7.7 million cedis. Ms Florence Martey, a trader whose bill was 14.2 million cedis, told the GNA in tears that the baby had been on admission since July this year, and there was no way she could mobilise money to pay her bill. "I just do not have the money and it will be better for me to stay here in Korle-Bu until a good Samaritan comes to our aid," she said. A visit by GNA to the room where these babies are kept revealed that some mothers had twins and triplets.

The nursing mothers, who were camped in a room to enable them to breastfeed their babies, appealed to the Gvernment to come to their aid.

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