How Hospitals Extort Patients Over Blood, Screening Costs

Ahmad’s wife is an expectant mother, and as is the usual practice, the private hospital where she attends ante-natal care asked him to donate blood for her.

He got a pint of blood from the National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) in Abuja at the rate of N8,000 and took it to the hospital.

However, he was shocked when he was asked to pay N10, 000 for the screening of the blood. He lamented that the amount for screening should be far less if they must rescreen the blood product.

“They gave me the flimsy excuse of screening for infections, and blood group, etc., but I was wondering why they should rescreen it since it has already been screened by NBSC, which has even better testing machines than the hospital.

“If they must rescreen, why such a high amount of money?

For three pints of blood, that means I will pay a screening fee of N30, 000, which makes it N53, 000 for blood alone.  So at the end of the day, you discover it is more like a money-spinning venture or extortion of patients and their families by hospitals,” he said.

He lamented that at the end of the day, his wife didn’t eventually use the blood during delivery and neither the screening fee nor the blood itself was returned to him.

“Even if the blood is returned, it will be of no use to me. While we are not saying there should be no repeat screening at these public or private hospitals, they should reduce the amount they charge. There is nothing wrong with retesting for like N2, 000, or N3, 000 for instance. There is no reason why the hospitals should be charging more than the NBSC where I got the blood from at N8,000 given the technicalities in getting blood, donors, screening, and maintaining their cold chain among others,” Ahmad said.

There are growing concerns over the exorbitant rates of blood and blood products as well as screening them at public and private hospitals in the country.

Patients and their relatives lament that they are made to pay high amounts of money whether they get blood from voluntary and family replacement donors or from the NBSC.

Some hospitals habitually engage commercial donors thereby also hiking the cost of blood and screening for patients.

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