Some patients turned away by new charges in Aweil hospital

Some patients who visited Aweil have raised complaints about new fees introduced at the state’s main hospital.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal state Ministry of Health has reportedly introduced charges for every patient visiting the hospital. This is after HealthPool Fund ended its support for the hospital and 26 other health facilities in April 2022.

A patient who spoke to Akol Yam 91 FM said they are asked to pay for registration and diagnostics.

He disclosed that he paid 500 South Sudanese Pounds as registration fee, while testing or diagnostic fees differ based on the type of illness.

“I came from a far distance without enough money, when I reached here, I was asked to pay 500 pounds. And also the health workers in the Lab asked me to pay 900 pounds but what I have is less, and they refused to treat me,” he narrated.

Another patient whose name has been withheld also said he was turned away for failing to pay the new charges.

“I was told to go back home after I failed to pay the amount demanded by the hospital management while my sickness was serious. Do you think that when I go back home, I will be okay? This one is not fair.”

Others called for the reduction in the fee structure “because community members can not afford.”

The State Minister of Health admitted that the hospital has adopted new charges for each patient.

Rieny Lual, however, clarified that the fee only applies to registration, while other services remain free.

“We introduced the cost sharing to help us buy drugs and pay incentives for doctors.  The state ministry will work hard to get other partners who will support the hospital fully,” he said.

Mr. Lual added that the departure of HealthPool Fund from the hospital has left a huge gap that requires “huge amount of dollars for drugs and salary of health workers.” He urged the public to support the new arrangement.

Last month, County health facilities in Aweil East were hit by shortage of drugs since the organization pulled out over financial constraints.