Heads of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have petitioned the Liberian Senate to speedily concur with the House of Representatives to pass the New Public Health Bill.
The 20 civil society organizations also include women groups, different university regulatory bodies, and all health association leaderships.
Presenting the petition to Montserrado County Senator Saah Joseph, Chair on the Senate Committee on Executive, the president of Liberia National Physician Assistant Association, Theophilus Fayiah, expressed confidence in the abilities of Senator Joseph to convince his colleagues to pass the instrument.
Reading the petition, Fayiah stressed that the instrument, when passed, the Revised Public Health Law will play crucial roles in addressing the many public health challenges in Liberia.
He said the law seeks to address nuisances, mental health and drug peddling, nutrition, non-communicable diseases and leprosy, referral systems in various hospitals, clinical trials, HIV/AIDS, sexual reproduction health and discrimination in providing healthcare services among others.
Mr. Fayiah averred that the Physician Assistant Association, Laboratory Association, Liberia Nurses Association, Liberia Midwifery Association, Liberia X-Ray Technicians Association, Liberia Operating Room Technician, Liberia Private Health Facilities Association and Pharmacy Association of Liberia are willing to support the Senate.
The groups’ representative recounted that the development of the New Public Health Bill underwent rigorous technical review processes, adding that the joint legislative committees on Health and Judiciary have had engagement with the Ministry of Health, health sector institutions, and stakeholders as the engagements included a three-day working session with the Law Review Team in Gbarnga, Bong County in 2018, a joint public hearing in the Chambers of the Liberian Senate in April, 2020 and a three-day working session in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
According to him, the bill was submitted by President George Weah in February, 2020, noting that the instrument was passed by the HOR on July 21, 2021 while it was referred to as the House of Representatives Engrossed Bill #23 and forwarded to the Liberian Senate for concurrence.
Fayiah indicated that to date, the joint Senate Committees on Health and Judiciary has not taken any substantive action on the passage of the instrument.
Receiving the petition, Senator Joseph lauded the joint institutions promising to deliver their communication to the Senate Pro-tempore Albert Chie for onward submission to the Committees on Health and Judiciary for a considerable action.