By Gift Chapi-Odekina
The Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that Nigeria’s Polio free status took three decades of hard work to be achieved.
Ehanire stated this at a public hearing on three (3) bills presented by the House committee of Health Services on Thursday.
At the meeting, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS and other stakeholders in the Health Sector all supported two bills presented by the House Committee and rejected one.
The bills supported were: a bill for an act to ammend the national primary Healthcare Agency Development Act Cap N69, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and for Related matters; A bill for an act to Establish the National Blood service commission to coordinate, Regulate and Ensure the provision of Quality blood and blood products and related matters.
But A bill for an act to Establish Cancer Registry to make provision for complication of Statistics Record to the incidence of Cancer to provide a Basis for Direction of programme for Research and for Cancer Treatment and for Related matters was rejected by the stakeholders.
The Cancer bill In its explanatory memorandum, seeks to look into the present increase of the spread of and attack of cancer disease globally and the deadly consequences on people.
Based on the adoption of the presentation of the Minister who said it would amount to a duplication as Nigeria has 33 cancer treatment centres nationwide, it was rejected by majority of stakeholders.
The Minister while speaking specifically on the bill to amend the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) ACT of 1992 said:
“I am particularly delighted about todays event as it marks a big stride towards strengthening the roles and responsibilities of the Agency to provide technical and programmatic support to states and LGAs on the Development of Primary Health Care in Nigeria which will ultimately improve the overall health outcomes in the country and accelerate our journey towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“This transformation has expanded the roles and responsibilities of public health agencies globally beyond direct service delivery; to programme management, quality control and standards, performance monitoring, and enforcement.
” It is heartwarming to note that Nigeria has been declared Wild Polio Virus (WPV) free and will be ceremoniously certified free of WPV by World Health Organization on August 25th 202.
“This achievement of polio free status is a hard-won battle spanning over three decades of hard work and dedication of the polio team, partners and donors through the years of the defunct National Programme on Immunization (NPI) to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency established by an ACT of 1992.
Ehanire said technically speaking, the transfer of the functions of NPI to the Agency around Polio Eradication Initiatives (PEI) and Routine Immunization (RI) was not well captured in the current ACT hence the amendment.
Rep. Tajudeen Abbas (APC Kaduna ) who sponsored the bill on National Blood Services Commission recounted how his daughter was infected with Hepatitis B through a faulty transfusion: He said:
The Nigeria Labour Congress, President Ayuba Waba in his presentation said with the passage of the Primary Healthcare Bill, we are strengthening the Primary Health Sector.
NLC is therefore aligning with this bill and that of the National Blood Services Commission.”
The NCDC DG, Chikwe Ihekweazu, who dashed in briefly said they did not come with a presentation as they were aligning himselves with the position of the Minister.