By Amos Aar, Makurdi
BENUE State House of Assembly on Thursday’s plenary passed the Highly Infectious Diseases, Prevention and Management Bill 2020 into law, after a clause by clause consideration in a Committee of the Whole.
Chairman, House Committee on Human Services, and member representing Oju 2 State Constituency, Honourable Joseph Okponya, who led the debate on the bill, explained that when signed into law by the state governor, it will address the management and prevention of highly infectious diseases declared by the World Health Organisation and other relevant bodies.
According to the bill, infectious diseases are diseases that cause serious and eminent threat to public health of the people. Such diseases include Ebola, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Coronavirus, among others.
Hon. Okponya further stated that the law will make provision for the governor to make urgent procurement for the needed medical facilities, establishment of isolation centres with proper care of infected persons, health workers as well as provision of funds to be used properly for preventing and combating further spread of such infectious diseases, while local governments are to contribute funds for combating any outbreak of highly infectious diseases.
The law also gives retired health workers below the age of 70 years, private organisations and nongovernmental organisations to assist government and relevant agencies to develop policies and provide services towards combating highly infectious diseases.
The bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Titus Uba, and nine other members was signed by the Clerk of the Assembly, Dr Torwase Agenda, following a motion moved by Hon. Okponya for its passage.
In his comment, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Christopher Adaji, who presided over the session, commended members of the house for their positive contribution that enabled the prompt passage of the bill into law.