A Peoples Democratic Party flag bearer for the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Federal Constituency in the 2023 general elections, Francis Chima, also known as , has settled the medical bill of Elizabeth Davis following a report that Davis was being held at the Ajeromi General Hospital, Lagos State, over her failure to pay the bill amounting to N323,000.

reported on Wednesday that Davis, who had lost her baby delivered prematurely after days of intensive care inside an incubator, could not leave the hospital because of the outstanding bill.

The state government had, earlier in February, directed all general hospitals and primary health centres to provide free antenatal care and child delivery services, including normal and cesarean sections, to expectant mothers who were residents of the state.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had explained that the initiative was part of relief measures to cushion the hardship being faced by residents as a result of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

The governor said during a media interview in February 2024, “There is an arrangement for free delivery, including cesarean sections, at government hospitals,” adding that his administration “will also give a rebate on some particular drugs at our state government hospitals.”

Meanwhile, when visited the hospital at Orege Community in the Ajeromi area of the state on Wednesday morning, the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Yetunde Sotunde, said Davis was not qualified to receive the state government’s free child delivery services.

Sotunde explained that the governor’s directive was not without a caveat, stressing that only expectant mothers who possess the Lagos State Hospital Management Agency Policy Number could enjoy the free child delivery services.

This scheme is a policy that aims to replace existing private health maintenance organisation plans with a comprehensive health insurance scheme that provides access to a wide range of private and public hospitals in all local governments.

Sotunde, however, said the policy only allowed patients who had the LASHMA policy number to benefit from the palliative.

She noted that Davis was in an emergency situation when she was brought to the hospital, adding that her condition caused her to deliver the baby inside the emergency room rather than the normal labour room.

She said, “Ms Davis did not even deliver the child in the labour room. She expelled the child right into the emergency room. Part of the N50,000 the husband paid was donated by our medical staff. It is very disappointing that the same person would go on social media to peddle stories that are not true.”

“It is true that free child delivery services are currently ongoing in the hospital. But this palliative only covers patients who have a LASHMA policy number. A good number of our patients have been enjoying the free care. However, Davis is not enrolled. If she had registered just a few hours before her delivery, she would not have been bothered with payment. But she didn’t. And registration for LASHMA is free. It is right here on these premises,” the medical director added.

When contacted on Wednesday, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotosho, explained that the “hospitals are meant to register the palliative care seekers on Ilera Eko so we can process their claims when the bills are sent. We have trained their staff to do this. We also have officers who they call upon to help with registration. This was agreed upon as the process for implementation by all when we started in August.

“The actual narrative is that the palliative care seekers are registered but not mandated to pay for the scheme at the point of care. The claims are sent to LASHMA for processing and payment, while at the end of the month, those identified as vulnerable among them get enrolled in the EKOSHA equity fund and can continue to seek care for other medical issues over the course of one year.”

However, after reading about Davis’ predicament in the Wednesday edition of The PUNCH Newspaper, Chima and his personal assistant, simply known as Maduabum Francis, approached the management of the hospital to clear the N323,000 medical bills owed by Davis.

Speaking through Francis, Chima said, “He (Chima) received a phone call from his business partners in Kano, who informed him about the family. And then he told me that we were going to sort out the bill.

“So, we went to the hospital, and when we got there, we met the MD of the hospital and told her what we came for. We made the full payment and handed over the receipt to the husband of the lady. We also helped other patients at the hospital.”

Davis’ husband, Michael Bassey, and the MD of the hospital confirmed the payment to PUNCH Metro in separate interviews.