A group has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to all pending health bills passed by the 8th National Assembly.
The National Advocate for Health made the call in a press statement released on Thursday and signed by its Chairman, Oladapo Ladipo and the Vice Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Healthcare Services, Mohammed Usman.
The group said it is imperative for the President to assent to the bills as a matter of national interest ”and a way of taking the health sector to the next level.”
According to the statement, the implication of not assenting to the bill before the end of the 8th National Assembly means that they (bills) will be returned to the 9th National Assembly for consideration and undergo another long legislative process.
The statement noted that the health bills have already been passed by the 8th National Assembly.
These bills include “The National Health Insurance Commission Bill which provides a policy framework that made Health Insurance mandatory in Nigeria; the bill to establish the FCT Health Insurance Agency and the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board.
”The amendment of the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria Establishment Act which provides for task shifting endeavours and also to promote private investments in the pharmaceutical sector.
“The Bill to establish the Health Information Practitioners Council and Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria which will help to achieve professionalism and promote global best practices among health information practitioners and chemists respectively,”
The group commended the president for approving the implementation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund and the Catastrophic Health Fund as appropriate.
This, the group said will help to improve the health of many poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
It also commended the effort of the immediate past Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, for his demonstration of leadership, accountability and transparency.
“We also commend the effort of the immediate past Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole in ensuring the disbursement of of N12.7Billion to the respective CBN dedicated account of the NHIS, NPHCDA and NCDC for the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (NHIS -N6.5Billion, NPHCDA-N5.8Billion and NCDC- N327Million) 17th May 2019.
“This is commendable and a demonstration of leadership, accountability and transparency and we call on the leadership of the NHIS, NPHCDA and NCDC to follow suit and disburse funds to the state government agencies within the shortest possible time in line with the signed and agreed operational manual.
“This will improve insurance coverage for the vulnerable women and children, improve primary health care and immunization and response to diseases outbreaks and preparedness,” the group said.