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Reps approve bill to make free child healthcare compulsory

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The House of Representatives has passed for second reading, a bill seeking to make it compulsory for the Federal Government to provide free health care services for children in Nigeria.

The legislation, which was sponsored by a member, Bello Kaoje, is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Make Health Care Service Delivery Free for All Children in Nigeria; and for Related Matters.’

Leading the debate on the bill at the plenary on Wednesday, Kaoje stated that children’s health needs are significantly different from those of adults. “By nature, children grow and develop at rapid rates, placing them at special risk of being affected by illness and injury,” he said.

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The lawmaker also stated that, “If health problems are not identified and treated, they can affects a child’s cognitive, physical, behavioural and emotional development,” stressing that, “With the Federal Government’s health care initiative, Save One Million Lives, it is very important make free medical services for children in Nigeria.”

Kaoje noted that when the Free Health Care Services Delivery to Children in Nigeria Bill is passed into law, it would ensure that all health care services delivered to children are for free.

He added, “It will give the following unique and immediate benefits: The health care services shall include diagnoses, treatment, prevention of illness and other physical and mental impairment in children in Nigeria. The services shall be rendered by the government hospitals in Nigeria. The services shall cover referral cases of children from other state, local government hospitals or any other private hospital in Nigeria.”

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