Posted by VANGUARD on
Tokunbo Akinbowale, the father of the new-born triplets who were temporarily detained at the National Hospital, Abuja when he and his wife could not afford the hospital bills after delivery, speaks on his predicament.
How did you get the money to settle the payment of the hospital bills? I am so elated and I give glory to God for this wonderful thing, the bountiful blessing of the children and also the God-sent person who cleared the bill without even as much as reveal his identity. I thank him and your paper (Vanguard) for calling attention to our plight.
How are the children doing now? They are in perfect condition, no problem. They feed well, smile and cry. They are just in perfect state of health.
How old are you? I am 32 years old. What do you do for a living? As for now, I can say I am not yet gainfully employed because I am yet to qualify as a lawyer. I am a law graduate from the University of Jos. Ordinarily, I should go to the Law School but because of the present state of things, the responsibility is now huge on me. So, I need to get a job to cater for my family. Next year, by Godís grace, I will proceed to Law School.
In this case, how were you fending for your family before now? My wife and I were teachers. I was teaching in a private school in Jos from my 200 level (year two) in the university. I combined my law programme with schooling. My wife, an English graduate from Ambrosse Alli University, Ekpoma was also teaching in the same school and thatís where we met before the courtship started and we legalised the union. The crisis in Jos and the poor remuneration of teaching job in Jos made her to relocate to Abuja to see if she could get a better job. Unfortunately, the job she expected did not come her way and she had to go back to another private school in Gwarinpa.
That is at Netherland Secondary School. When did she come to Jos? After her service in 2000. She finished school in 1999 and did service in 2000.
When did your wife come to Abuja? She came in early last year.
Did you not consider the state of your income before getting married and planning for children? The thought of having a child offers great excitement into oneís being. The idea is that since one is a graduate, albeit with a little income so to say, at least one could still fend for a baby. Though I am yet to qualify as a lawyer, she has a job as a teacher and notwithstanding the meagre income, things could still have been relatively okay but as things came out, it turned out to be a multiple pregnancy. It was not man-made, it was Godís design. We donít create life, God creates life, it is just as if God said, ĎThis is the beginning of you people,í. No one can cheat nature.
Why did you go to the National Hospital when you knew it was an expensive place? From the onset, we never for one second conceived the idea of going to the National Hospital. From the moment she was scanned and the scan revealed multiple pregnancy, the doctor who did the scan recommended that she be at bed rest at Wuse Hospital, Abuja. And that it would be a credit to them to keep her there till she would put to bed.However, when the labour started on Sunday, October 5, the hospital experienced some constraints. There was no light, doctors were not on duty. Only nurses were around, so it became an emergency and it became a sort of frightening situation. The incubators in the childrenís ward, I learnt, were not enough. So, they had to quickly rush her to National Hospital, because it became a matter of life, if the operation had been carried out in Wuse Hospital, I donít think that the expenses would have been as astronomical as it became at the National Hospital.
So, what did you go through at the National Hospital? They did their work perfectly well, no doubt about it. Facilities there were highly sophisticated. The other side of it was that they appeared more or less, so insensitive, because the impression I got was that to them, it was as like; Ďwe have done the work, you just have to pay or you live here. The authorities began to consistently come to my wifeís bed demanding that she should clear the bill. That, no doubt, got my wife psychologically traumatised because we never knew that this thing would come out this way. It wasnít something that we prepared for. So, the impatience on their side got me perplexed. It was hell for me that my wife and I had to start going here and there to solicit for assistance. I wept the day she had to leave the kids in search of money with me. It was the most horrifying time in my life. But here I am, I donít know many people here in Abuja because I am just relocating here neither does she know people here because of the nature of her pregnancy. She had been on bed rest for about nine, ten weeks. So, she had been confined for that long.
What lessons have you learnt from your experience? I will candidly say as a citizen of this country that the National Hospital which was conceived to be for all Nigerians, for all persons irrespective of the status should just be that. This country makes an amazing amount of money from crude oil on a daily basis, the type of money that this country makes about ten countries in Africa cannot imagine it in two, three years. If the Wuse Hospital had those facilities like National Hospital, there wouldnít have been this pandemonium and trauma that I went through with my family.There should be a re-defined health policy to cater for the under-privileged members of the society because if something had happened that night at Wuse Hospital, that would have been it. So, they should do more to improve the General Hospitals to upgrade them to National Hospital standard. There shouldnít be one of it in this country.
hell for me that my wife and I had to start going here and there to solicit for assistance. I wept the day she had to leave the kids in search of money with me. It was the most horrifying time in my life. But here I am, I donít know many people here in Abuja because I am just relocating here neither does she know people here because of the nature of her pregnancy. She had been on bed rest at for about nine, ten weeks. So, she had been confined for that long.