To all future mothers out there who are worried about the Zika virus, you might have already read the article ‘Free testing for pregnant women with Zika symptoms’. It was stated that pregnant women with Zika symptoms or partners with the virus are entitled to free testing at public healthcare institutions, announced the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (Aug 30).

I would like to use my own experience to warn all pregnant woman out there, of the nasty situation they might get themselves into.

I am currently in my first trimester and I was down with Dengue fever last month. During my visit to Woodlands Polyclinic today, I was told that I would have to pay $300 for the Zika blood and urine test as I do not have ALL the symptoms.

I told the doctor repeatedly that I had on and off fever above 38 degree Celsius last week, coupled with sore throat and flu. I saw a private gynae to avoid long queues at the clinic. Since I had the symptoms before I knew about Zika, I attributed my ailments to the ills of the haze.

However, the polyclinic doctor told me that they have no access to records from private clinics and my temperature of 37.4 degree Celsius is not considered feverish. She also stated that I have little rashes. I pointed out that I had almost no rashes too when I was down with dengue. Zika supposedly have milder symptoms. I have all other symptoms besides rashes.

It was obvious that the doctor needed ‘evidence’ before she could send me for testing.

It was a trying and frustrating session and I was on the verge of breaking down. I was already worried sick about contracting dengue during pregnancy. For all I know, I might have Zika too. From the news, it seems to me that some cases weren’t even discovered before the patients recovered.

The government always lament about Singapore’s low birth rate. But when we do want to raise a healthy baby, where is all the support we need?

So here’s just a fair bit of advice to mothers would be. Make sure you have enough ‘evidence’ to show that you might have Zika before you even bother going to the polyclinic. I wouldn’t wish for anyone else to experience what I experienced today – to spend 4 hours queuing at the clinic and paying $300 just to have a doubtful doctor questioning your symptoms.

Don’t be misled by articles like ‘free screening’ (read hidden clauses). Pregnancy is tough enough. Go to private clinic instead.

Poor and Angry Mother
A.S.S. Contributor

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