Paul Orude, Bauchi
Bauchi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Zuwaira Ibrahim Hassan, has said that the four Health Bills recently accented to by Governor Mohammed Abubakar would revitalise the health sector and bring about sustainable development in the state.
Addressing a press conference, in Bauchi, on Thursday, at the conference hall of Emergency Operations CENTRE (EOC), Bauchi, Dr. Hassan said the laws were enacted after wide consultations with stakeholders and adjudged to confirm to national and international best practices.
The four health bills assented to by Governor Abubakar having earlier been passed into law by Bauchi State House of Assembly, according to the Commissioner are, a law to establish the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health and Hospitals Management Board Bauchi and other Matters connected therewith as well as a law to establish a Directorate of Traditional Medicine to Regulate the practice of Traditional Medicine, to register practitioners and license practitioners and to provide for matters connected therewith.
Others are a law to provide for the establishment of Bauchi State Health Trust Fund (BHETFUND) charged with the responsibility for collection, management and disbursing the fund to the public health institutions (Training Institutions, Primary and Secondary Heath Facilities) and services in the state and for other connected purposes and a law to provide for the establishment of the Bauchi State Health Contributory Management Agency to Institute the Bauchi State Health Contributory Programs for all residents of Bauchi state and for connected purposes.
She said the state government would work with development partners and Civil Society Organisations to come up with a comprehensive operational guidelines to ease implementation of the programmes.
“Let me provide a brief about law to provide for the establishment of BHETFUND. Under this law, the fund shall be generated from 5 per cent of the monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the state government, 1 per cent of the statutory allocation of each of the local government councils of the state and 1% of the amount if all contracts awarded by the state government and local government councils in the state,” she said.
According to the Commissioner, “When the Bauchi State Health Contributory Management Agency comes to effect, it will improve Universal Health Coverage by reducing cost of out of picket expenses and improve coverage such as outpatient care, treatment in the hospital for inpatients, antenatal and postnatal care for pregnant women, provide cost of essential drugs, laboratory tests and screening including paediatric services, we will start with formal sector and later expand to informal sector including community services.
“The latest move by the Governor to provide additional strong leadership, legal and governance structures for the health sector further demonstrates his extraordinary passion for the sector. It is therefore a rare opportunity to the citizens of Bauchi State in general and the health sector in particular”
Dr. Ibrahim said plan was under way for submission of a memo to the Governor for the establishment of High Level Steering Committee saddled with the responsibility of providing leadership for the take-off of the strategic laws assented to by the governor.
She, therefore, urged the citizens of the state as well as the state health workforce to cooperate with government in making the laws become reality.