The Federal Republic of Nigeria’s National Assembly is attempting to alter the National Health Act to address gaps in healthcare access.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, made the announcement in Abuja at the start of the West African College of Physicians (WACP) Nigeria Chapter’s 44th/45th Annual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM).
Hon. Gbajabiamila is representing Gbajabiamila. According to House Committee on Health Chairman Tanko Sununu, provisions were established in the amended laws for healthcare service providers to collect cash used to treat gunshot victims during emergencies.
He went on to explain that Nigeria’s health indicators remain poor, and that the national assembly will play a part in addressing the causes of the country’s poor health delivery system, one of which is accessibility, through legislation.
“In the next days, we will discuss amending the National Health Act, which sets the foundation for the development of healthcare in the country,” he stated.
“On the question of emergency treatment for gunshot victims, the House of Representatives is awaiting approval from the executive branch of government. In the modified Health Act, we attempted to address the issue of shooting injuries.
“There was a vacuum in the prior Act regarding how this type of emergency should be handled when presented at a hospital. Payment and services provided to gunshot victims have become a cause of concern.
“We tried to propose alternatives in the modified Health Act where practitioners can claim expenses for services rendered to a gunshot victim. This will allow victims to receive emergency medical care as soon as possible.”
The speaker went on to say that the country is presently dealing with three big crises: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), insecurity, and limited resources, all of which have had a substantial impact on health indices.
“NASS is striving to solve the difficulties through effective legislation, oversight, and representation,” he stated.
“We only had four laboratories to diagnose COVID-19 when it arrived in Nigeria, but because to aggressive budgetary allocation, we now have over 130 laboratories nationally that can diagnose the virus.
“We are also attempting to address challenges affecting the health sector by making healthcare coverage through the country’s health insurance plan mandatory.
“The bill has already passed the national parliament, and we are seeking for presidential assent so that every Nigerian would have a basic minimum package that they can use to maintain their health.
“Not only will the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund provide a basic package, but it will also increase the health sector’s capacity to respond to catastrophes.
“We’re also looking at the Infectious Diseases Control Bill, which aims to improve the country’s emergency preparedness.”
While praising the WACP, the speaker promised that the NASS will evaluate all of its proposals after the AGSM and use them to influence legislative efforts.