House Committee Bill Passes to Form New Federal Medical Centre in Enugu State

House Committee

The public hearing for a bill seeking to amend the Federal Medical Centre Act 2022 and establish the Federal Medical Centre Ugwuaji Awkunanaw, Enugu State, and other related matters was held today at the House of Representatives. The hearing, conducted by the House Committee on Health Institutions, considered twelve other establishment bills.

Declaring the event open, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D., represented by the Minority Leader, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, said there was a need to address the inadequacies in the healthcare sector in Nigeria by building and funding more health facilities.

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Leading a debate on the general principles of the bill, the Member representing Enugu North and South Federal Constituency and the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Chimaobi Sam Atu, explained that the Medical Centre, when established, would go a long way in reducing the burden on the overstretched facilities in Enugu State. Hon. Atu added that Enugu State has no Federal Medical Centre, and there was a need to build one in the state. According to Atu, “My constituents and the entire Enugu State citizens are in dire need of a Medical Centre to fill the huge gap and address the concern of those who don’t have access to health facilities in the event of critical health emergencies. As we all know, the rural communities around Enugu South LGA and some parts of Enugu North can’t afford to travel to UNTH Ituku Ozalla, which is about a 35-minute drive from Enugu City Centre and over 50 minutes from some hard-to-reach communities in the state.”

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Contributing to the bill, Engr. Kenechukwu Chibuokem, who led the delegation of stakeholders from Enugu North and South Federal Constituency, said the constituency has a huge population and special demographics that are in dire need of the Federal Medical Centre. Engr. Chibuokem explained that the people from the rural communities need a tertiary medical facility that could handle critical health challenges. He added that “with the upgrade of the Federal College of Dental Technology and Therapy, Enugu, to a University of Allied Health Services, there is a need to have an additional tertiary health institution which will serve as a training school for medical students.”

The Chairman of the House Committee on Health Institutions, Hon. Amos G. Magaji, explained that his committee would ensure that every bill was considered on its merit and presented to the whole House. Hon. Magaji, who also presented a bill seeking to establish the Federal Medical Centre Kafanchan, Kaduna State, emphasized the need for the Federal Government to expand the medical reach of Nigerians by establishing more federal medical centres in many parts of the country.

On the funding of tertiary healthcare in Nigeria, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ms. Kachollom S. Daju, maintained that the federal government was willing to fund healthcare, but the resources were slim.

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