After the success of Modibbo Adama Conventional University Bill, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) is once again on her feet with 3 brand bills before the Senate. The Federal Medical Centre Establishment Bill, 2021 is one of the Bills sponsored by the Gimbiyar Adamawa which is presently progressing in the red chamber yet trailed with questions from Adamawa Central and beyond. While some ask what the Bill is all about others misunderstood the Bill as a provision that would see to the Establishment of a new Federal Medical Centre in Adamawa in addition to the existing FMC, Yola.

The Bill which was read on Tuesday 9th February 2021and Thursday 18th February, 2021 for the first and second reading respectively seeks to address the lacuna in running the affairs of the FMCs nationwide.

As a Senator of the Federal Republic, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) observed with dismay that the present Federal Medical Centres across the country do not have the legal backing that would ensure efficiency in running the Hospitals.

While leading Debate on the need to provide legal backing for the FMCs, Senator Binani reminded the Senate that the Federal Medical Centers were to:

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1. Provide advanced equipment and facilities for diagnosis, curative, promotive and rehabilitative services in medical treatment.

2. Be constructed, equipped, maintained and operated in the light of providing training schools and institutions necessary for providing advanced health care services.
3. Have laboratories, research and experimental stations necessary for the efficient national health service delivery.

The Senator regrets that as noble as these objectives are there is no enabling law to back, support and propel superlative outcomes for the benefit of Nigerians. The absence of a legal framework for the regulation, development and management of Federal Medical Centers to set standards for rendering health services has hindered the ‬provision of intensive, effective and efficient health care services to the people of Nigeria.

According to Binani, this has led to a number of challenges in this health sector including but not limited to under-funding, weak facilities and infrastructure, poor motivation of health workers, low budget, conflicts with the political structure of the states and industrial strikes which has led to inadequacies, shortcomings and weaknesses which hinder effective health care delivery services.

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Senator Binani convinced the Senate that the FMCs Bill, when passed will provide such enabling environment that will facilitate:

1. provision of general policies and guidelines relating to major expansion programmes of the Medical Centers;

2. the acquisition of facilities for the training of medical students of associate universities;

3. the management and superintendence of the affairs of the Medical Centers;

4. the powers to make, alter and revoke rules and regulations for carrying on the functions of the Medical Centers;

5. the fixing of terms and conditions of service, including remuneration of the employees of the Medical Centers which will check the exodus of our doctors and nurses especially when we are faced with the fact that 77% of black doctors in the US are Nigerians and there is rarely any top medical institution in the US or Europe where you don’t find Nigerians managing at the top level. Hardly a year passes without a major national strike by nurses, doctors, or health consultants. The major reasons for these strikes are poor salaries and lack of government investment in the health sector.

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6. the establishment of a Board that shall ensure that the standards of teaching provided at all establishments under its control and the standards of treatment and care provided for patients at those establishments do not fall below those usually provided by similar establishments of international repute.
With resounding and overwhelming support, Senators took their time in support of the Bill, describing it as timely and commendable.
With the FMCs Bill, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani) has once again plays the role of a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic that she is.

The Bill is now referred to the Senate Committee on Health to report back within four weeks.

Adamu Ibraheem Jimeta.
Legislative Aide to the Senator.
8th March, 2021

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