SOKOTO’s Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital (Uduth) has hiked its service charges by more than 100% in response to the recent surge in demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that had put pressure on service delivery.
Nigeria has witnessed 35,454 cases of coronavirus, of which there have been 772 fatalities, with Sokoto State having one of the lowest infection rates, with just 153 cases and 16 deaths. Despite the low figures, the Uduth management said it had no choice but to raise fees to maintain efficient service delivery.
Buhari Abubakar, the hospital’s spokesman, said that the institution’s charges still remained the lowest in the country. He added that the increase was necessitated by the prevailing increase in prices of antigens and other medical consumables, pointing out that the rise would come into effect this month across all departments, laboratories and other areas.
Mr Abubakar said: “The last time the hospital increased charges was in 2015. Increased charges is better than halting the services and not unconnected with realities of economic situations in the country in term of prices of items, chemicals, antigens and consumables.”
He added that the move was not motivated by the profit motive but to sustain revolving hospital activities, which are about going down. According to Mr Abubakar, the health sector was generally experiencing financial difficulties and Uduth is not an exception.
Mr Abubakar stated that it was better for patients to pay slightly higher and access health services than pay higher costs and suffer the inconvenience of travelling to Abuja, Zaria, Jos or other areas to obtain such services. He reiterated that the hospital had been running at a loss before now and that the current move was part ways of ensuring that it remained sustainable as an institution.