Nigerian stuck at Pantang Hospital - Facility calls for help to repatriate patient
A 23-year-old woman on admission at the Pantang Hospital in the Greater Accra Region who is fully recovered has been stuck at the hospital for more than a month.
It followed the inability of the family who are in Imo State in Nigeria to raise enough funds to support her repatriation back to her home country.
The repatriation is expected to cost about GH¢1,500 by road from Accra to Ahiazu Mbaise, a local government area of Imo State in Nigeria.
Several efforts by the management of the hospital to involve the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana and other institutions to help facilitate the repatriation of Ifunanya Chukwu who was trafficked into the country in 2018 for prostitution have also proved futile.
The situation has become a drain on the hospital’s meagre funds and a hindrance to new admissions.
A medical practitioner at the Pantang Hospital, Dr Alex Owusu Ansah, in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Sunday, stated that the hospital was finding it difficult to integrate the patient who was now in a stable condition with her family.
This, he said, was because the family were in a village at Imo State in Nigeria and could not afford the repatriation cost.
“When the patient became conscious, we were able to source some useful information from her which we used to contact her mother in Nigeria.
“Based on our assessment, we realised that the mother would not be able to foot the repatriation cost and so, we sent a letter on September 26, 2023 to the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana and copied Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the International Organisation for Migration to assist but until today, no help has come through.
“We have followed up the letters with several calls to the high commission yet to no avail and so, we are now faced with the option of discharging her which we are afraid that she may go back to the people who led her into prostitution,” he said.
He added that discharging the patient to go back to the people who led her into prostitution would defeat the main purpose for which she was rescued in the first place.
A deputy nursing manager at the hospital, Akua Owusua Gyapong, said Ifunanya was identified after a good Samaritan reported an incident of a mentally ill person attacking residents of Abokobi Boi,a suburb of Accra, in July this year.
After accessing the situation, she said management of the hospital directed that she must be rescued and brought to the hospital for treatment.
The nurse noted that the patient was rescued through an initiative dubbed ‘Setting the captive free’ introduced by the hospital to rid the streets of Accra of mentally challenged persons.
She said the initiative sought to treat and restore the dignity of mentally ill persons who roam the streets of Accra.
She said the patient, who was still on admission, was in a stable condition upon assessment by the mental team and could, therefore, be managed at home.
“Ifunanya is currently being cared for in terms of her feeding, accommodation, clothing, medical care and day-to-day upkeep with the meagre funds of the hospital coffers,” she added.
Interaction with patient
Interacting with the Daily Graphic at the hospital, Ms Chukwu expressed worry with her consistent stay at the hospital after being declared well by the medical team.
“All the patients that I came to meet here have been discharged but I am still here even though I have been declared okay to go home; now I am tired of the stay here.
“I was deceived and brought into Ghana by my madam called Rose Anita to do street (prostitution) in 2018 but I ran away from her to do wig cap with a friend before I suffered the illness,” she said.