Senate passes Health Emergency Bill

The Senate has passed a bill to provide for a national framework for the control of outbreaks of infectious diseases in Nigeria.


The bill’s passage followed the consideration of a report by the Committee by the Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases.


The piece of legislation entitled, “Bill for an Act to Provide for an Effective National Framework for the Control of Outbreaks of Infectious Diseases and Other Events Endangering Public Health and Requiring Public Health Emergency Measures and For Other Related Matters (SB. 413)”, was read at plenary for the first time on 30th June, 2020.


Chairman of the Committee, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, in his presentation, said the Bill seeks to establish an up-dated and comprehensive legislative framework providing for the norms, basis for the making of regulations, rules and guidelines and measures to be applied in the event of any outbreak of infectious and contagious diseases or public health event within or outside Nigeria.


“It also provides the frame work that will necessitate a declaration by the appropriate authority of a public health emergency and to provide a sound basis for the measures and actions of the appropriate authorities during the period of the public health emergencies to control and contain the spread of infectious or contagious diseases or public health events”, Utazi said.


He explained that the bill if signed into law, would ensure a timely response, control and management of public health emergencies coupled with necessary checks and balances, accountability and control.


Meanwhile, a bill seeking to provide a legal framework to establish the Federal Medical Centre Onitsha, Anambra State has caked second reading.


The bill was sponsored by Senator Stella Oduah (Anambra North).


The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill after passing second reading to the Committee on Health for further work.


The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the chamber in plenary.

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