Nigeria: Senate Moves to Create University of Health and Medical Sciences in Suleja

The Senate, on Wednesday, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to establish the National University of Health and Medical Sciences in Suleja, Niger State.

In his lead debate, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC, Niger East), who sponsored the bill, said the establishment of the institution had become imperative to create more access to higher health and medical studies in view of the large number of qualified candidates, who are annually stranded in their failed attempt in gaining admission into higher institutions in the state.

He said the establishment of the National University of Health and Medical Sciences would encourage the advancement of learning, as well as develop and offer academic and professional programmes leading to the award of diplomas, first degrees, postgraduate research and higher degrees with an emphasis on planning, adaptive, technical, maintenance, developmental and productive skills in the field of Medicine, biomedical engineering, scientific, and allied professional disciplines relating to health resources.

The Deputy Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger North), said the establishment of the institution would address the dearth of health professionals, and provide an opportunity for students who choose to specialize in the area of medical sciences.

He added that the University, when established, would "remove the frustrations of young Nigerians", emphasizing that "this type of university is long overdue."

The bill, after scaling the second reading, was referred to the Committee on Health for further legislative inputs.

Similarly, the Senate also considered a bill seeking to amend the University Teaching Hospitals (Reconstitution of Boards) Act 1985, to accommodate the Federal University of Lafia Teaching Hospital.

The University Teaching Hospitals (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which scaled second reading during plenary, was sponsored by Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura (APC, Nasarawa South).

Al-Makura noted that the inclusion of Lafia Teaching Hospital in the Principal Act was to give full recognition to the hospital.

According to the lawmaker, the proposed amendment when passed, would complete all the required legislative enactments to bring the Federal University Lafia Teaching Hospital into full operation.

"I wish to state that in compliance with Order 77(3) of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 as amended, this bill when passed will have no immediate financial burden on the Federal Government treasury as the facilities for the immediate takeoff of the proposed Teaching Hospital for the Federal University, Lafia and its Management Board have been donated by the Nasarawa State Government," Al-Makura added.

Also, the Red Chamber passed for second reading a bill seeking to revive an international hospital that would specifically focus on the treatment of leprosy, skin cancer and other skin related diseases.

The National Dermatology (Specialist) Hospital Bill, 2021 was sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (APC, Adamawa Central).

Leading debate on the bill, the lawmaker recalled that as far back as 1929, an International Hospital was established in Garkida, Adamawa State by the Church of the Brethren Mission (USA) for treatment of leprosy and other illnesses.

The lawmaker, however, lamented that 92 years after, "this noble work of providing tertiary health care at the reach of the common man was neglected and allowed to decay in vigor and extent, thereby became weak and inconsequential."

Ahmed bemoaned the fact that the existing international tertiary dermatology hospital in Garkida Adamawa State has been conspicuously left out in the federal government's drive to provide tertiary health care services to Nigerians.

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