The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, has signed the long-awaited National Health Bill.
This was confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES, via text message, by presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati.
“Yes, he did weeks ago and the bill has since been transmitted back to the clerk of the National Assembly,” Mr. Abati said.
In July, 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 clearly defines the various roles and functions to be played by the three tiers of government on health related issues.
It 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 percent of the one percent 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 percent of the one percent 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 entirety also takes care of the continuous crisis within professional health bodies in Nigeria.