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Going to the Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Oworonshoki, located in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State to obtain routine immunisation for her baby girl has been challenging for Mrs. Arit Robson because she has to pay for hand gloves before her baby is immunised.

Explaining the challenges she has to go through to immunise her four months old baby, Arit, a housewife says she borrows to pay for the N100 charged for hand gloves by the health workers at the PHC whenever she goes to vaccinate her baby.

The 27-year-old indigene of Akwa Ibom State says paying for the hand gloves has been difficult for her because her husband lost his job in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the family has been struggling to survive.

Arit told PUNCH HealthWise during a visit to the PHC by our correspondent that the demand for the payment for hand gloves from nursing mothers every immunisation day places a huge financial burden on mothers who are jobless and whose husbands’ are struggling to eke out a living.

Mrs. Robson said she was unhappy with the payment for the hand gloves as she recounted how her husband struggled to pay the N230,000 she was billed in a private hospital in Oworonshoki when she delivered her daughter four months ago through a Cesarean Section.

Arit, who has vowed to ensure that her daughter completes her immunisation despite the financial challenges confronting her family, said, “My baby is four months old, I came here to vaccinate her against polio.


Model Primary Healthcare Centre, Oworonshoki collecting N100 for hand gloves

“But the health workers in this Model PHC are collecting N100 for hand gloves and this is really annoying because I am struggling to survive. Each time you bring your baby here to be given a vaccine, you must pay N100 for gloves. And the health workers don’t care whether you have the money with you or not.


“The only N100 on me that I used to pay for the hand gloves this morning, I borrowed it from my sister. I trekked from my house with my baby strapped to my back to this facility this morning because I do not have transport fare.

“When I brought her to receive the Bacilli Calmette Guerin vaccine (BCG) in this PHC a few days after her delivery, I also paid N100 for hand gloves.


“The most annoying thing is that the health workers are not even using the gloves that we paid for.

“They are already wearing gloves and so why ask us to buy gloves that they are not using? They are just using us to make money because after collecting the gloves from us, they will put them in a bag beside their table and the next immunisation day they will bring them out to sell to mothers. This is pure extortion.”

She further lamented, “I delivered my baby through a Cesarean Section in a private hospital and was billed N230, 000. We borrowed to pay the hospital bill because both my husband and I are jobless. My husband lost his job last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So, N100 means a lot to me.”

Mrs. Robson appealed to the Lagos State government to do something about the charges at least for the sake of non-working mothers to avoid denying their babies life-saving vaccines.


The World Health Organisation recommends vaccines from age zero to five for babies, and they include vaccines for infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B, polio, haemophilus infuenzae type b, pneumococcal (conjugate), rotavirus, measles, meningococcal, and mumps, among others.

Experts say immunisation remains the safest and most effective way of protecting children against diseases, stressing that immunisation also helps to control the spread of communicable diseases.


Unvaccinated children at risk of contracting diseases –UNICEF

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, children who have never been vaccinated are at the greatest risk of contracting diseases such as measles, whooping cough, and tetanus, which may be fatal or lead to long-term debilitating effects on survivors.

Lennox Mall

“Vaccination acts as a shield, keeping families and communities safe. By vaccinating children, we are protecting the most vulnerable members of the communities.

“Millions of lives can be saved by extending basic health services, like routine immunisation, to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children,” says UNICEF.

Ashogbon PHC Bariga
•Ashogbon Primary Healthcare Centre, Bariga, Lagos State.

Our correspondent gathered during visits to some PHCs in the state that Model PHC Oworonshoki is known for extorting nursing mothers every immunisation day by compelling them to pay N100 for hand gloves before their babies are vaccinated.

Regrettably, after they have been given the gloves which are tied in white nylon, the vaccinators will collect the gloves from the mothers and drop them in a bag and then vaccinate the babies with the ones they are already wearing.


Our correspondent learnt from some of the nursing mothers that the hand gloves are resold every immunisation day. The mothers noted that the health workers are using the selling of the gloves to enrich themselves, arguing that the purchased gloves are never used to vaccinate their babies.

Routine immunisation not free at Ashogbon Primary Healthcare Centre, Bariga

Another PHC in the state where health workers are milking nursing mothers who come to vaccinate their babies against childhood killer diseases is Ashogbon Primary Healthcare Centre in Bariga Local Council Development Area.

During a visit to the PHC, our correspondent saw some nursing mothers seated and waiting for their turns for their babies to receive life-saving vaccines against childhood killer diseases.


The health workers were on the ground attending to them on a first-come, first-served basis.

First, the mothers as they come into the PHC will submit the immunisation cards of their babies to one of the health workers in charge of documenting the babies’ details in their register after which the cards are returned to the mothers with the next appointment date written on them.

At the end of the documentation, the mothers were asked to undress their babies for scaling before the vaccination proper.

At the vaccination spot, two health workers were seen by our correspondent with the vaccination box and a pack of needles by their side vaccinating the babies one after the other.

But at this vaccination spot, PUNCH HealthWise observed that the health workers were demanding N100 from each of the nursing mothers before their babies were immunised.

Our correspondent gathered that Ashogbon PHC is also known for extorting nursing mothers every immunisation day.

Nursing mothers lament

“We are asked by the health workers to pay N100 each time we come to immunise our babies. And I have been paying from the time my baby was one week old when she was given BCG vaccine till today that she was given Oral Polio Vaccine – Pentavalent 1 vaccine at six weeks.

“During my antenatal at Shomolu General Hospital, we were told that immunisation is free but coming to this PHC, the story is different. When I asked one of the health workers when I brought her for BCG the reason for the collection of the N100 and she told me that it was for hand gloves.

“I don’t know why the Lagos State government that is generating a lot of money from taxes will not be able to provide hand gloves for the vaccination of babies,” one of the nursing mothers who simply identified herself as Jumoke told PUNCH HealthWise.

A 30-year-old mother of two, Mrs. Juliet Eleweke who came to give her 10-week-old son OPV2 – Pentavalent 2 vaccine for tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, and others, also told our correspondent that she was unhappy with the extortion, lamenting that the health workers were using their babies to enrich themselves.

The businesswoman who is an indigene of Enugu State narrated, “When I brought him to Ashogbon PHC for BCG vaccine when I delivered him, the health workers collected N100 from me.

“They also collected N100 from me when I brought him to be given the OPV1 vaccine against polio when he was six weeks old. Today, he came to receive OPV2 and I was still compelled to pay N100. It is no longer a secret that mothers pay N100 to health workers in this facility every immunisation day to immunise their babies, though they have various methods of collecting it so that those who came for other health services in the centre will not know.

“Most times, they request that you put the money inside the immunisation card and give it to them.

“Another method is once they are done vaccinating your baby, the next thing you will hear with a low voice is, your N100.

“Sometimes, they stretch out their hands immediately after vaccinating your baby without saying anything with the assumption that you should know that you have to give them N100 after the exercise.”

Another nursing mother, Mrs. Mary Ufot who came to vaccinate her nine-month-old daughter against measles, told PUNCH HealthWise that it is unfortunate that the government will make something free and you end up paying for it at the end of the day.

“There is no time that I bring my daughter here for immunisation that the health workers will not ask for money before vaccinating my baby,” the tailor angrily said.

Our correspondent further gathered that the act has been going on for years without punitive action against the erring health workers by the state government.

Even as findings by PUNCH HealthWise show that childhood immunisation is free in Lagos state. Mothers, according to findings by our correspondent are not supposed to pay for anything to vaccinate their babies.

LASG fails to provide us with hand gloves –health workers

But one of the health workers who preferred anonymity claimed that the reason for collecting N100 for hand gloves from the nursing mothers was because the state government failed to provide them with gloves.

The health worker told PUNCH HealthWise that though they were aware that childhood immunisation is free in the state, they will not vaccinate the babies with bare hands.

“When we don’t have hand gloves to administer the vaccines on the babies, what do you want us to do?” the health worker said.

However, the story was different at Ojora Olugbode, Ijora Oloye, Iwaya, Simpson, Alapere, Akoka and Akere PHCs during visits to those facilities by our correspondent as mothers paid nothing to vaccinate their babies.

N100 can buy my baby a pap

A 33-year-old mother of three, Mrs. Mayowa Akinwale who now patronises Akoka PHC, told our correspondent that she had stopped going to Ashogbon PHC to immunise her babies despite living closer to the facility since she knew that the health workers there would demand N100 from her for hand gloves.

“Things are so difficult for me and my husband at this time. My husband is a painter and he hasn’t been getting enough painting contracts since the outbreak of COVID-19. So, I prefer to trek to Akoka PHC to vaccinate my six-month-old baby free of charge.

“Though trekking from Bariga to Akoka is far, at least, I can save that N100 that I would have paid at Ashogbon PHC. I acan then use that N100 to buy pap for him or his siblings,” the Lagos housewife said.

Only one in four children in Nigeria receive recommended vaccines

According to the Federal Ministry of Health definition, a child is considered fully vaccinated if he or she has received a BCG vaccination against tuberculosis; three doses of DPT to prevent diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus; at least three doses of polio vaccine; and one dose of measles vaccine.

All these vaccinations’ FMOH noted should be received during the first year of life, over the course of five visits, including the doses delivered.

But the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted by the Federal Government in 2016/17 shows that only one in four children in the country receive all the recommended vaccines.

While vaccination is a major step towards the prevention of infectious disease, UNICEF says 4.3 million children in Nigeria still miss out on vaccinations every year.

UNICEF data also showed that Nigeria has the most children unvaccinated and under-vaccinated against measles in the world, despite a global decline in deaths from the dangerous but preventable disease.

According to the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS, 2018), the under-five mortality rate in Nigeria is 132 per 1,000 live births meaning that one in eight Nigerian children never reach the age of five.

The report also showed that Nigeria is one of five countries in the world with the highest number of under-five deaths.

On immunisation, the NDHS 2018 revealed that Nigeria was still 60 percent away from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Charges unacceptable -LASG

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha when contacted for his response, told our correspondent that it is totally unacceptable for health workers to collect money from nursing mothers to vaccinate their babies.

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