From: Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has described the bill to regulate the Medical Residency Programme as a key legislation that has the potential of ending recurring cases of doctors strike in the country.
The House had, on March 30, passed for second reading: “A Bill for an Act to Regulate the Medical Residency Training Programme in Nigeria and for Related Matters” sponsored by Betty Apiafi, chairperson, House Committee on Health Institutions.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Health Institutions.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for a two-day public hearing on the residency bill, a Bill for an Act to Ammend the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria to Streamline the Number of Pharmacy Schools on the Council and three other health sector bills, Dogara called on stakeholders in attendance to ensure that they frankly state their positions on all five bills as the House is committed to improving the legal frameworks for health institutions and programmes.
Dogara who was represented at the public hearing by Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, said as representatives of the people, the House places the health and well-being of Nigerians as top priority, adding that bills targeted at improving the efficiency healthcare institutions will always receive full support from the National Assembly.
The public hearing also covered the investigation of the Joint Venture Agreement between University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada and Crystal Thorpe Nigeria Limited.
Earlier in her welcome address, chairperson of the of the Committee expressed optimism that with the residency bill, the structural, funding and organisational challenges that caused doctors to resort to industrial action will be resolved.
“The residency programme bill is an example of the National Assembly intervening to deal with the problem of obsolete laws that are not in tandem with international best practices.
“This bill will act as the comprehensive policy of government on the funding, the curriculum, scheme and tenure of the residency programme. It will also resolve the issue of non-uniformity of the residency programme at different institution as these are the major issues that made the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at specific institutions commence on strike with disturbing frequency,” Apiafi said.