NIGERIA’s House of Representatives is working on amending the National Health Act to enable hospitals offer free treatment for gunshot wounds as part of a comprehensive healthcare programme.
Speaking at the recent annual general and meeting of the West African College of Physicians in Abuja, House of Representatives speaker Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, said the consideration was important as increasing cases of no payment, no service for victims of gunshot wounds posed a serious concern. He added that Nigeria’s health indices remain poor and the National Assembly will play its role through legislation to help address poor delivery system in the country, one of which is accessibility.
Hon Gbajabiamila said: “In the next days to come, we will consider the amendment of the National Health Act which provides the basic framework upon which healthcare in the country is developed. The House of Representatives is waiting for concurrence from the executive arm of government on the issue of emergency treatment for gunshot victims.
“We have tried to address the issue of gunshot injuries in the amended Health Act. In the previous act, there was a gap on how this type of emergency should be addressed when presented at the hospital, the source of payment and services rendered to gunshot victims has become a worrisome issue.
“In the amended Health Act, we tried to proffer solutions where practitioners can claim the bills for services rendered to a gunshot victim. This will allow victims to access emergency healthcare promptly.”
He noted that the country was currently facing three major crises of Covid-19, insecurity and dwindling resources, adding that the crises had significantly impacted health indices. Dr Olurunnimbe Mamora, Nigeria’s minister of state for health, listed the causes of poor health indices to include inadequate human resources, poor data management and limited funding to scale up coverage of evidence-based interventions.
Hon Gbajabiamila added: “When the Covid-19 came to Nigeria we only had four laboratories to diagnose the virus but due to active budgetary allocation but we now have more than 130 laboratories nationwide that can be used to diagnose the virus. We are also trying to address issues affecting the health sector by making healthcare through the health insurance scheme mandatory in the country.
“The National Assembly passed the bill already and we are hoping that the executive assent to the bill so that every Nigerian will have a basic minimum package that he or she can use to sustain health. The Basic Healthcare Provision Fund will not only come with a minimum package but will also improve the health sector’s readiness to address emergencies.”