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PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTITIONERS MEET OVER NATIONAL HEALTH BILL

By NBF News
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Public Health practitioners numbering over 500 are expected to converge in Calabar, Cross River State capital, to brainstorm on the National Health Bill which is yet to be accented to by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The practitioners, under the aegis of National Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, will also discuss the way forward for the public health sector in the country.

Speaking with journalists on the activities lined up for the 28th edition of the National Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee of the conference, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan, said discussions on the bill might influence the President's perception and fasten the process of signing it into law.

'This bill is the enabling instrument that will determine the length and breadth of health issues in Nigeria. There must be a modus in which we serve the public through the health sector,' Nsan added.

The bill, which was passed by the National Assembly in 2011, had continued to generate controversy with diverse pressure groups calling on the President not to sign it into law.

Also throwing more light on the National Health Bill, the Publicity Sub-Committee Chairman, Dr. Ani Etokidem, said practitioners in the sector will point out the possible grey areas to members of the public.

Insisting that there must be a modus by which we serve the public in the health sector, he said 'the bill has generated controversies and we want people to discuss it. This might at the end of it all ginger the President to give accent to it.'

He further said, 'As a professional body that accommodates the interests of all medical doctors in public health practice in Nigeria, part of our tradition is to field a scientific conference every year. This is the enabling instrument which would determine height and breadth of the delivery of healthcare in Nigeria. Therefore it is something that would be of interest to everyone who is a Nigerian.'

The conference, has however, introduced the conferment of dedicated awards to deserving persons in the public health sector including the doyens of public health in Nigeria and on current practitioners of public health.