By Chinelo Nwangene
Mrs. Chinemerem Aniche, currently stranded at the Regina Caeli Specialist Hospital, RCSH, Awka, Anambra state capital with two of her surviving triplets, has pleaded for urgent financial assistance from state government and other good spirited organisations and individuals.
The mother of five children told Orient Weekend that since she was delivered of triplets – Chibuzo, Chibundu and Chimamada – on October 29, 2018 at Odekpe Health Centre, in Ogbaru local government area of the state, life had been unbearable for her and her family.
According to her: “When I gave birth to my triplet in October 29, we could not go back home due to lack of accommodation as our house and properties were destroyed by flood forcing us to run to an (Internally Displaced Persons) IDP camp. My husband, however, was sick and suggested we came back (home) since there was nobody to take care of him.
“We followed him back to our house and used waterproof sheets (nylon materials) and bags to cover our house, including doors and windows. But that was not enough to protect us, especially the new babies from cold and shortly after they took ill, resulting to death of one of them, Chimamanda. Her death forced me to leave the house to look for help to treat the other two. It was on my way that I found a stranger who helped to take us to Regina Caeli Specialist Hospital in Awka and paid N10,000 deposit for the babies to be treated.
Aniche said that, besides accumulated hospital bill of about N50,000 for the post-natal treatment of her babies at the RCSH, her family had been rendered homeless and hungry by the recent flood that destroyed their homes and crops that they laboured for last year. To make the matter worse, her husband, Hyacinth Aniche, a farmer had been allegedly bedridden in his home town, Odekpe in Ogbaru local government of the state.
“Our crops were also destroyed and we have no other means of survival or raising money for the hospital bill and that is why we have remained at the hospital.
Asked how she had been able to survive prolonged stay in the hospital with her four kids and her mother (six people) without money and assistance from friends and relations, Mrs. Aniche said she owed their survival to God and help from people whom God had used to cater for their needs.
“Means of survival has been very difficult for us here. This is our first stay in Awka and we don’t know anyone. So, we are strangers in the city. But it’s one woman we knew from Ogbaru who lives in Onitsha that brings food for us at times. We have also received tremendous help from other people who visit women that were delivered of new babies at the hospital.
On the way out of their predicament, Mrs. Aniche said they needed all the help they could get to re-establish their life shattered by the flood in their home. “We need urgent help because even if we are discharged from the hospital, we have no place to call a home and I don’t know where to take these children to. Even feeding them and taking care of my sick husband that cannot walk now talk less of going to farm is a big challenge.
“We need money to rebuild our home, buy food and the crops we need to re-start our farming occupation this year”, she adds.
The manager of the hospital, Fr. Jerome Madumelu, when contacted, confirmed that Mrs. Aniche and her kids had been sheltered in the hospital after their treatment as internally displaced persons who have no means of survival. “Actually they are IDP people and when they were brought by an NGO to the hospital, they were suffering from malnutrition; so I had to buy them a carton of milk and commanded a nurse to be feeding the children.”
According to Fr. Madumelu, the reason for their prolonged stay at the hospital was beyond the hospital bill. “The question here is not the bill but survival outside the hospital; how the children can be taken care of and other things.
Madumelu disclosed that the facility had carved a reputation as last resort for people with such challenges and that they always try to help such indigent persons and their families when they are helpless.
“There is another pregnant woman that had hepatitis B and we treated her without any payment. After her treatment, she was discharged but refused to go. And last week she delivered a new baby. The baby of another patient had jaundice. She was brought by her parish priest who only deposited little money and paid for one pint of blood. However, some people came and paid for two pints of blood but we are still offering them treatment till date.
“When some of these people go to private and government hospitals without money, they will be chased away and this place (Regina Caeli Specialist Hospital) is always the last resort for them. But there is a limit to what we can do and that is why we also ask the public to help out.
Madumelu lamented that the hospital was finding it difficult to cope with unpaid bills and resources for catering for those indigent patents. “We are in serious trouble with the huge amount of monies we are being owed. At the moment, we are being owed over N2 million but that hasn’t stopped us from taking care of these innocent children. We even find it difficult to pay our workers because of the charity treatment we do. Please, we need help from people to carry out this charity work.
Donations for the indigent family can be made through account details: HYCINTH ANICHE, ECOBANK Savings 0841009935