Bill to Establish Federal University of Medical Sciences in Bende Passes Second Reading
The House of Representatives at the plenary, Tuesday passed through second reading a bill for an act to establish Federal University of Medical and Health Sciences, in Item Bende, Abia State.
The proposed legislation titled, “Bill for an Act to Establish Federal University of Medical and Health Sciences, Item Bende to make Comprehensive Provisions for its Due Management and Administration and for related matters, was sponsored by the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, Hon. Wole Oke and five other lawmakers.
Leading the debate on its general principles, Hon. Oke said the Bill seeks to establish a university charged with the responsibility to, among other things, offer full-time training leading to the award of degrees in medical and health sciences.
He noted that specialised medical universities have become very important in Nigeria as there is increasing demand for medical and health professionals, especially now that the country keep losing her trained medical and health personnel to other countries of the world.
He also noted that rising wave of external migration of medical and allied health professionals seeking greener pastures in more developed countries further compounds the problem.
The lawmaker said the university when established will encourage the advancement of learning and hold out to all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex or political conviction, the opportunity of acquiring a higher education in Medicine and other Health Sciences.
He also said the university will develop and offer academic and professional programs leading to the award of diplomas, first degrees, postgraduate research and higher degrees with emphasis on planning, technical, maintenance, developmental and productive skills in the field of Medicine and allied professional disciplines relating to health resources.
Oke said, “The importance of education in the society cannot be over-emphasized. It is important for a happy and stable life, for better income and livelihood and for social equality. Furthermore, it is important to have specialized universities especially in the field of medical and health sciences. This will help in filling the gaps seen in conventional universities’ run medical faculties which often grapple with lack of resources among other things. Recall that in the past the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria had recommended that universities should consider the establishment of independently administered Colleges of Medicine as a way to partly decentralize power and garner additional resources for medical schools. You will recall also the successes of specialized medical universities around the globe.
“Some critically needed health professionals are not adequately produced in the country at the moment. Clearly, government cannot completely halt the emigration of trained medical and health personnel. It would be more appropriate to tap into the huge export market of trained medical and health personnel, by investing more into the education and training of medical personal in large numbers to meet both domestic and international demands. Health indicators may continue to decline in the absence of aggressive interventions to reverse the trend. More doctors and other health professionals leaving the country has led to a shortage of medical professionals in the country. This has in turn resulted into heavy strain and dissatisfaction among those medical professionals remaining in the country.
“The general objects/purposes of the University shall, among other things, shall be to – offer to the general population, as a form of public service, the results of training and research in medicine and allied disciplines and to foster the practical application of those results; and establish appropriate relationships with other national institutions involved in training, research and development of health care.”
The Bill was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Rt Hon. Abbas Tajudeen who presided over the session, it was passed and referred to the committee on University education.
Udora Orizu, Special Assistant on Press Affairs to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria