Many babies born preterm have to depend on a number of factors to win their fight to stay alive. For babies born too soon, oxygen is a critical item used as a matter of necessity to aid breathing especially for those born extremely preterm. A small cylinder of oxygen which lasts for about 8 hours costs 3,500 naira in an average public hospital. An extremely preterm neonate needs round the clock oxygen because it was born before its lungs developed to function on its own.
That means an extremely preterm baby will need some 3 small cylinders of oxygen in 24 hours.
3 x 3,500 = 10,500 naira.
For just one day.
A baby born between 22 and 27 weeks would most likely depend on oxygen for a while.
This cost is scary and simply prohibitive for some families.
It is why TBHI embarked on the Affordability of Care Advocacy Project (ACAP) to bring to fore the very strong nexus between economic factors and survival rate of premature babies.
A lot has been said about making health care accessible. Now we must ensure accessibility encompasses affordability in a manner that is sustainable and efficient.
Join us in calling on government at all levels to act. And act quickly.