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Primary healthcare development agency bill passes second reading

Primary healthcare development agency bill passes second reading

…As AKHA authorises Governor’s request for tenure extension for TC members

The bill for a law to establish the Akwa Ibom state Primary Healthcare Development Agency has passed second reading on the floor of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly.

Speaker of the House and member representing Nsit Ubium state constituency who is the lead sponsor of the bill, Barr Onofiok Luke, said if passed, the law will ensure the provision of universal health coverage for the people of the state. He said it will also help to strengthen service delivery to people at the grassroots, especially low income earners.

Urging his colleagues to support the passage of the bill into law, the speaker said “there is need to strengthen primary healthcare service delivery in our state. People must have access to affordable healthcare services in line with the universal health coverage agenda. “Most of our people are resident in the rural communities. We must therefore harness the potentials of the primary healthcare services in the state to create better access and quality of service.

“The agency will make primary healthcare services better delivered. There is need for the provision of infrastructure and personnel to help strengthen this primary healthcare provision. We cannot have universal health coverage without having a strengthened primary healthcare system.” He pointed out that Akwa Ibom state was one of the few remaining states in the country without a primary healthcare development agency.

Among others, the powers of the proposed agency include to “review the existing health policies in collaboration with the ministry of health and adopt them with particular regards to their relevance in the development of primary healthcare and primary healthcare; promote and monitor the implementation of health plans at various levels of the state primary healthcare system;

“strengthen referrals and linkages with other branches of the health sector especially in the areas of maternal and child health, reproductive healthcare and other primary healthcare related areas with a view to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality.”

The Speaker said the bill is anchored on affordability and availability of qualitative medicare for people regardless of location and financial status. Members of the House spoke strongly in support of the bill.

Also, the House during Tuesday’s plenary passed a resolution authorising Governor Udom Emmanuel to extend by six months the tenure of members of transition committees in the state, making it an aggregate of twelve months. Members all spoke unanimously in support of the governor’s request contained in his letter the state legislature seeking the extension of tenure of the transition committee members.

The lawmakers however urged the governor to ensure that elections are conducted this year. Hon Usoro Akpanusoh of Esit Eket/Ibeno state constituency and chairman of the House’ committee on appropriation and finance expressed believe that local government elections in the state were going to be conducted in 2017 having seen a provision in the 2017 appropriation bill for the state electoral body, the Akwa Ibom Independent Electoral Commission, AKISIEC. He urged the state government to put machineries in motion for the speedy conduct of elections.

Also, the House read for the first time a bill for a law to provide for the prudent management of the state resources, ensure long-term macroeconomic stability of the state economy, secure greater accountability and transparency in fiscal operations within the medium term fiscal policy framework and the establishment of the fiscal responsibility commission to ensure the promotion and enforcement of the Akwa Ibom state economic objectives and other matters related thereto. The bill which is sponsored by Rt. Hon. (Sir) Udo Kieran Akpan, was committed to the House committee on Rules, Business and Ethics for scheduling.

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