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Development Charity Accuses Private Hospitals in Nigeria and Kenya of Denying Patient Care

Private hospitals in India and Kenya accused of refusing people on low incomes vital healthcare, or holding them hostage until bills have been paid, benefit from UK government investment funds, according to a report by Oxfam. The Sick Development report is a critique of the millions of pounds taken from the UK aid budget and invested into foreign businesses and programmes in poor countries. Oxfam said investments by development finance institutions (DFIs) into private healthcare providers in low and middle-income countries should be redirected into strengthening public health systems “to help those living in poverty to access healthcare”. Oxfam said the evidence from its research in India, Kenya and Nigeria was that private hospitals failed to honour promises to accept accident and emergency cases and the profit-motive meant cases of financial or medical abuse were covered up. The report said BII-funded private hospitals were found charging “astronomical fees for maternity care”. In one hospital in Nigeria, the fee for an “uncomplicated birth” was the equivalent of 12 years’ wages for the poorest 10% of the population. A caesarean section cost the equivalent of 24 years’ wages, the report said.