Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday voted against a bill seeking to regulate access to overseas medical treatment by public officials.

The Bill for an Act to Amend the National Health Act 2014 to Regulate International Trips for Medical Treatment by Public Officers to Strengthen the Health Institutions for Efficient Service Delivery failed to pass Third Reading at Tuesday’s plenary session.

House of reps, overseas medical treatment
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A number of lawmakers who spoke on the Bill argued that the proposed legislation would breach the rights of public officials.

The Deputy Speaker, Mr Lasun Yusuff, said the bill would discriminate against elected officials.

He said, “This bill is against my fundamental human rights. There are two fundamental wrongs in this bill. It is against human rights and it is discriminatory. Do not let us do a debate on this bill.”

Mr Razak Atunwa, from Kwara State, also alleged that the bill was targeted at public officials over the mismanagement of the health care sector.

He said, “The fact that I am a public servant does not mean I have given up my rights. If the government has failed in providing hospitals, we cannot punish someone for it. The intention is right, but better funding for training of doctors, better funding for hospitals is the right way to go.”

The Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Mohammed Wase, from Plateau State, urged the House to “throw away” the bill.

He said, “I was in hospital in Nigeria for  a checkup and they said I was fine. Friends encouraged me to travel (abroad) for a  checkup and I did, only to discover that I was not okay. I spent three months there. Now you are telling me to get approval. Please, this bill should be thrown out. Instead of banning people from travelling, we should create an enabling environment for people to invest in the health care sector.”

Punch reports that the House had similarly rejected a bill sponsored by Mr Sergius Ogun, seeking to regulate  the sponsorship of children of public servants in foreign schools.

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