By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The House of Representatives committee on health services, Tuesday, began a pubic hearing on six key health bills, including some to compel hospitals in the country, to treat victims of gunshot wounds and establish an agency to enforce food safety in public places in the country.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila in declaring the hearing open, reiterated that the “Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives outlined the ambitions we hold, regarding reform and overhaul of our nation’s healthcare infrastructure. Our gathering here today is in part, fulfilment of some of those ambitions”.
The Bills are namely: “A Bill for an Act to establish a National Electronic Health Record System for the storage and access of electronic Health Records in Nigeria; and for related matters (HB.447),
“a Bill for an Act to Amend the compulsory treatment and care for victims of Gunshots Act to expand and bring the long title in conformity with the actual intendment of the Bill, provide stiff punitive measure to checkmate violations; and for related matters,
“A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Act, CAP N1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to capture other forms PF packaged water, other than in bottles, engage Cooperation with other relevant Agencies in carrying out its functions, introduce the coordination of clinical trials and some new offences and increase penalties for Commission of offences under the Bill and provide for payment of all monies received by the Agency into the Federation Account in accordance with Section 162 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999; and for related matters (HB. 990, 168 and 1127),
“a Bill for an Act to Establish the Nigeria Food Safety and Hygiene Surveillance Corps with the function, among others, to regulate, supervise and oversee food safety and hygiene practices in markets, eating places, training, issue National license to persons participating in raw, cooked food handling businesses in order to avoid food and water contamination and mishandling and for related matters (HB. 813),
“A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Agency for Food Technology Development Agency and for related matters (HB. 712);
“and A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Health Act, 2014 to define basic minimum package of Health Services, provide more mechanism for realizing the objectives of the principal Act in providing free Healthcare Services to all Nigerians without prejudice to the requirement of payment of the contributory scheme stipulated in the National Health Insurance Scheme Act; and for related matters”.
He said “We expect that when these six Bills become law, they will each serve to improve our national health system in specific, and significant ways that will impact the lives of our nation’s people for a long time.
“To this end, I urge all the invited Stakeholders and the general public to take full advantage of this public hearing to contribute your views and observations towards improving these Bills so that they are the best they can be”.