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Reps reject bill on compulsory medical test for Nigerians

The House of Representatives on Wednesday, rejected a Bill for an Act to make periodic medical tests free and compulsory for all persons living in Nigeria.

‎The Bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Dickson Tarkihir (Benue-APC), also canvasses national effort toward early detection of diseases.

‎Rep. Okon Archibong‎ (Akwa Ibom- PDP), said the bill was not friendly to the nation’s economic and human rights and urged members to step down the bill. ‎

According to him, the nation has not been able to provide appropriate facilities and budgetary allocation to the health sector.

Contributing, Rep. Abubakar Garba (Kwara- APC) said compulsory testing was an intrusion of human rights and personal privacy.

He said that if the bill was allowed to pass, it would be infringing on signed International treatises.

‎Garba, however, said the objectives of the bill could be achieved through other means, adding that it must not necessarily be by a law.

‎‎After much argument for and against the bill, the house unanimously voted against and rejected it after the Speaker of House, Mr Yakubu Dogara put the bill to a voice vote.

Earlier while leading the debate on the Bill, Tarkighir said the bill sought to ensure early detection of diseases before they got dangerous level.

He said the pressure on local currency will be lessened because people will discover ailment early and will not have to travel abroad to seek‎ care for advanced ailment, due to late detection.

He also said the bill sought to make diseases cheaper to treat and easier to either manage or cure‎ them.

Tarkighir argued that since the cost of health care had continued to rise world over, it would save the country a lot if Nigerians were compelled to undertake periodic free health checks‎.‎

‎Tarkighir said the bill would not invade the privacy of the people, saying that the result shall be kept confidential.‎

Also speaking, ‎Rep. Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa- APC) said people ordinarily did not go for periodical medical checkups.

He said often times, diseases developed to very chronic stages before they were noticed by the patients, adding that most of the time it was often too late for medical help.

Namdas urged members to support the bill to ensure a healthy citizenry for the country.‎‎

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