By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Human empathy took flight at Public Health Centre, PHC, Mayne Avenue, Calabar, a government health facility, late Friday evening when a woman in labour rushed to the Centre for succour.
Rather than health workers present helping her into the labour room, the pregnant woman’s inability to pay N20,000 demanded by them resulted in the most inhuman treatment ever meted out to a woman in Labour in recent history.
The bizarre part of the sordid event was that the N20,000 was demanded so that surgery could be performed on the woman but surgeries are not be done in PHCs in the state.
Despite pleas for help, the unfeeling health workers pushed the woman, in excruciating labor pain, out of the facility. And in a classical woman’s inhumanity to a fellow woman, a trained nurse, Eme Bassey, allegedly used mopping stick to beat the woman, claiming that she bit her hand.
With pangs of labour hitting her hard, the pregnant young lady was then thrown out of the facility.
Left to her fate, the woman crawled to the grass in front of the facility where she struggled on her own her own, aided by some members of the community and other passers-by, to deliver her baby.
When finally she put to birth, the youths in the community stormed the health facility and forced the said nurse out to ensure she assisted the woman.
It was then she reluctantly came out to deliver the woman of her placenta.
The Director General of Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Betta Edu, who later arrived the facility expressed shock that women could give such treatment to a fellow woman.
The DG who was in tears said she had warned some health workers time without number to treat patients with compassion.
“I spend my time going from community to community to plead with women to leave Traditional Birth Attendants, Prayer houses and homes to have their babies in Health facilities, then, a woman shows up in a health facility and she is beaten and pushed out. What worse treatment could a human give to another human? This kind of wickedness is unheard of.
These health workers will be used to set example for others who have refused to do the work which they are paid to do”, he fumed.
Dr Edu said that the Cross River State governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has been faithful in paying workers and on time too, and has recently added another 1000 health workers to the workforce to strengthen the health sector in addition to the rural allowance paid as incentives and facility upgrade to improve services.
She thus wondered what more a committed Governor could do to make things work.
The DG threatened that since some health workers in the state have refused to change, “we will show them the way out and bring in people who are ready to work!”.
Dr.Edu thus announced the suspension of all the staff involved in the maltreatment of the pregnant woman as well as the PHC coordinator who supervises then.
She stated that all staff involved would face disciplinary committee and risk tough sanctions, including dismissal.
Meanwhile, the woman has since been admitted into the health facility and the DG has provided her and her baby with clothes as well as other provisions she requires to care for the new baby.