If you’ve ever lived abroad, discussions about the length of stay given to foreigners must be one you’ve heard only too often. I certainly had my fair share of listening to arguments in the press about migrants who become a ‘burden’ on the purse strings of the tax payer. Never mind that a good handful of these migrants, are in most cases, legitimate Visa holders who are in employment and thus tax payers themselves. However, I do agree, that examples exist where immigrants have overstayed on their visa or defaulted on the legal requirements of the right of abode. But some times we hear of cases where it becomes altogether to difficult to judge.
One of such cases is that of Bimbo Ayelabola, who according to the UK Newspaper, “The Sun”, has given birth to quintuplets. According to the media source, Bimbo had been taking double the required prescription of a highly potent fertility drug, because she had suffered miscarriages in the past. When she learnt she was pregnant, she obtained a UK Visitors Visa and went to London to ensure she had adequate rest. It was during the scan in a UK hospital that it was discovered she was expecting 4 babies (a fifth baby was later discovered). Following emergency care given by the National Health Service, Bimbo’s estimated hospital bill is now placed at around £200,000. Her husband, who had visited earlier, is now thought to have fled back to Nigeria after discovering the conditions of her birth.
Bimbo is now seeking to extend her visa which expired in June by another 6 months because she believes she has an insufficient “support network” of family and friends left in Nigeria to help her bring up her kids since they are all in the UK. She is also arguing that the babies are too fragile to fly home. She also insists that at the time of applying for her UK visa, she had no idea she was expecting more than one child.
As you can imagine, this case has gathered a lot of media attention and comments from various arenas. A spokes person for the UK Home Office has been quoted as saying “The NHS is a national health service, not an international one. We expect those with no right to be in the UK to leave, otherwise we will remove them.” Conservative MP Chris Skidmore has also said that “It’s not acceptable for health tourism to continue in the way it has done”. Officials are also considering asking Bimbo to pay for the costs of her care which according to the hospital includes treatment by consultants, paediatricians, nurses, midwives, social workers and back-up staff.
There is however a human element to this situation which should not be overlooked. Bimbo Ayelabola must doubtlessly feel overwhelmed by her situation, especially since her husband has allegedly abandoned her. Looking after one child is enough for any new mother to contend with, let alone the nuances involved with taking care of 5 children!
What do you all think? Has Bimbo Ayelabola legally faulted the terms of her Visa and should thus be asked to return to Nigeria. Should she be asked to pay the hospital bill, since she is not a UK citizen and therefore has no legal right to free health care? Or should the UK government extend her stay for the period required?
Maybe there is also a bigger question to ask here, what is our government doing about our health care in our own country? Nigeria has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, what is the Nigerian government doing to improve infant mortality rates and the general level of care in our hospitals? Surely if we had a better health care system, women like Bimbo might not feel the need to travel outside of the country.
What do you all think? Let’s discuss!!!!
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