Nigerian health organizations seek Jonathan’s signature for National Health Bill

Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu

The bill will take care of the continuous crisis arising between professional health bodies in Nigeria.

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Health organizations in Nigeria under the Health Sector Reform Coalition, HSRC, on Wednesday in Abuja advocated for the National Health Bill to be signed by the President, Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking to journalists on the passage of the bill by the House of Representatives, the Chairman, Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, HEFRON, Ben Ayene, said the lack of harmonisation by both the lower and upper house means the coalition had to act swiftly to push for a presidential assent.
The bill would have to be harmonised by both chambers of the National Assembly before it can be signed into law.

The Executive Secretary of HEFRON, Muhammed Lecky, said while the coalition is elated over the recent adoption by the lawmakers, it was necessary to push for the president’s signature.

Mr. Lecky said that although the president has promised to sign the bill once the lawmakers harmonize it, there is need to strategize towards getting Mr. Jonathan to sign the bill.

“This yet again auspicious turn of events gives cause for hope. We are now at a countdown stage as we mobilize our collective resolve for Mr. President to sign the Bill into Law and make it the best democracy dividends yet to all Nigerians,” Mr. Lecky said.

On Tuesday, a report on the bill was presented by a House committee assigned to consider amendments and the results of public hearings on the bill.

The committee was presided over by Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha.

However, no amendment was made by the House at plenary when it was passed. The Senate had earlier approved its version of the bill.

The Bill if signed by Mr. Jonathan will clearly define the various roles and functions to be played by the three tiers of government on health related issues.

Once enacted, the bill is expected to help Nigeria achieve universal health service, guarantee improvement in the health sector, regulate healthcare practice, and promote professionalism among healthcare givers.

The bill is also expected to set standards in health care services rendered across Nigeria and also help eliminate medical quacks in the system.

It seeks among others, the enablement to provide one per cent of Nigeria’s consolidated revenue fund for the development of primary health care.

The various states across Nigeria through this fund, are expected to improve on primary health care services in their states.

The bill also covers provision of health care insurance for Nigerians especially the less privileged.

About 15 per cent of the one per cent fund will be for the provision and maintenance of facilities, equipment and transport for PHC facilities, while 20 per cent will cover essential vaccines and consumables for all eligible primary healthcare facilities across Nigeria.

Also, 50 per cent of the one per cent fund that is provided for in the clause 11 under a Basic Health Care Fund will be utilized by the National Health Insurance Scheme to provide health coverage.

The bill in its entity also takes care of the continuous crisis arising between professional health bodies in Nigeria.0


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