Magnus Eze, Enugu
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has signed the state’s Health Sector Reform Bill into law.
The law provides the state a framework for the regulation, development and management of its health system as well as set standards for rendering health services to her people.
A public health management expert, Dr. Laz Eze described the development as a new dawn for healthcare in the state.
He commended the governor, as well as the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Dr. Daniel Ogbuabor, for the health reform.
The governor’s action was also described as demonistration of his administration’s commitment to ensuring improved access to health services of sufficient quality without the burden of financial hardship.
The reform law envisages a total revolution in the Enugu State health sector, where different organisations and persons would have to play key roles.
The new law will see to the total overhaul and repeal of the now defunct District Health System and re-establishment of the Ward Health System; as well as the establishment of Enugu State Hospital Management Board headed by a hospital administrator of the rank of permanent secretary.
It also includes the establishment of Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency to drive the national policy of bringing primary health care under one roof, thereby accessing funds from the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (1 percent of FGN consolidated revenue).
Other salient features of the law are the establishment of Enugu State Agency for Universal Health Coverage (ESAUHC)
The ESAUHC is to provide for both formal and informal sectors, state-supported health insurance and related services at an affordable rate to doctors; as well as the upgrade of the central medical store to a Drug Management Agency.
It also stipulates the upgrade of Enugu State Medical Emergency Response Team to a State (extra-ministerial) Department as well as the establishment of Enugu State Traditional and Alternative Medicine Board.It will also see to the establishment of the Ministry of Health as the supervising ministry for the existing Enugu State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS.
It also include the provision of the legal framework for citizen participation in health through the health facility committees; establishment of the rights and duties of healthcare users and healthcare personnel as well as the setting of new standards for health research and information system management.