The Ebonyi House of Assembly on Monday in Abakaliki conducted public hearing on Maternal and Perinatal Surveillance and Response Scheme and other related Matters bill 2020.
The hearing was attended by Ebonyi House committee members on Health, medical experts and civil society organizations.
The public hearing was supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI), a non governmental organisation with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Mr Friday Nwuhuo, representing Ezza North East constituency who presided over the hearing said that the bill which has passed through first, second and third readings in the house would tackle rising cases of maternal and perinatal deaths in the state.
Nwuhuo, the house committee chairman on Justice, Judiciary and Public Petition noted that the hearing was aimed at providing opportunity for health experts, civil society organizations and other key stakeholders to make inputs in the bill.
He added that the bill was sponsored by Dr Oliver Osi, representing Ivo state constituency in the assembly.
He said: “The hearing is important because it provides opportunity for the public to make inputs before the bill is passed into law.
” It is so important because our mothers, our wives and our children are involved and their fate, lives and welfare are protected by this bill.
“If eventually by the special grace of God, this bill passes into law, we shall be hopeful that the welfare of our mothers and children will be given a very serious consideration.
“With this bill coming into law, we are very very sure that pregnancy related deaths, still-births and problems associated with giving birth to children in the state will be reasonably tackled,” Uhuo said.
The lawmaker urged participants to make strong inputs that would properly strengthen provision of the bill to enable it achieve its purpose when passed into law.
Osi, the bill sponsor in an interaction with newsmen said the bill when passed would strengthen the state’s maternal and perinatal health system in order to checkmate pregnancy related deaths in the state.
He added that the law would provide increased surveillance and response for pregnant women in distress.
“The bill is all about ensuring that our women who go to hospital to give birth and their young ones do not die untimely.
“The idea came during the last dispensation when we had the Child Care and Maternal Initiative floated by the former government.
“Because there was no law to back it up, the initiative died away when the government wound up.
“There are still a lot of people who went to hospital to die in the process of given birth and there is yet no idea or clue on what we can do to stop this in the nearest future.
“This bill seeks to bring to an end this menace in the society and when an agenda is put on a table; you begin to talk about implementation, how you are going to monitor and carryout evaluation.
“It will help to gather evidence on what has been going on and help to engender proper surveillance and response mechanism,” Osi said.
Our correspondent reports that stakeholders reviewed the bill with the lawmakers chapter by chapter, made corrections and inputs to enhance the content of the bill.
The committee urged participants to study the proposed law and come up with memo aimed at enriching the content the bill.