Though there was no signboard to indicate the nature of business going on inside Mercy House, nearly every commercial motorcycle operator in Gado Nasko area, Kubwa, one of the suburbs of Abuja, the Federal Capital City, is aware of the seedy business going on inside the building. Indeed, a visitor to the area needs only to ask the commercial motorcyclists in the area to take him or her to the ‘hospital’ where children are delivered in the area to be taken to two small bungalows that constitute Mercy House.
The two tired looking women lying down on the sofa that doubles as beds were, as was gathered, delivered of their babies the night before the visit of this magazine. The proprietor, a middle age woman, refused to disclose her name, professional background or whatever qualified her to run a maternity home.
But believing that this magazine reporter was a potential patron, she readily informed her that she charges N5,000 fee to take delivery of women who have put to bed before and N6,500 for first timers. She also revealed that an average of five women put to bed in her facility each day. If any form of complication develops in the process, such a patient is immediately evacuated to the general hospital, the Mercy House proprietor, who claimed to have been running the unlicensed maternity facility for over a decade, told the magazine.
As investigations in Abuja by this magazine unearthed last week, many pregnant women are aware the risk involved in delivering their babies in illegal maternity outfits like Mercy House. But the harsh economic climate forces them to seek relatively cheap centres where medical histories of patients and other documentation are not demanded. Some women also complain about the shabby treatment meted out to them by nurses and the long queue before being attended to by a doctor in government hospitals.