Journalism of Courage

Nigeria Senate Approves Mandatory Treatment of Gunshot Victims

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]igeria Senate Tuesday overwhelmingly passed the Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, which seeks to compel hospitals to treat persons with gunshot wounds before obtaining police report.

The bill mandates that no person with gunshot wounds shall be refused immediate and adequate treatment by any hospital in Nigeria, whether or not initial monetary deposit is paid.

The bill also seeks to ensure that every person, including security agents, assist any person with gunshot wounds and ensure that the person is taken to the nearest hospital for treatment.

“By the passage of this bill, the Senate has moved to ensure that every hospital in Nigeria, both public and private, must accept to treat victims of gunshot wounds without any clearance from the police, said Senate President Bukola Saraki

“What we have done is to ensure that everyone is entitled to medical treatment, irrespective of the cause of the shooting. We should reserve judgment for the criminal justice system, and leave healthcare for the medical professionals.”

Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in 2009 when the bill was first introduced picked holes in the government’s mandatory treatment of gunshot victims and other emergency cases, saying the policy failed to state who would pay the bill.

Oyo State NMA Chairman at the time, Dr. Damilola Lewis, while pointing out the lapses at the association’s 2009 Physician’s Week in Ibadan, said: “One question which our distinguished lawmakers have, however, failed to provide a workable answer to is: who pays? The government knows that this is clearly outside our purview.”



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