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Nigeria to force hospitals to treat gunshot victims, says health ministry

The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare announced that it is implementing new strategies to ensure compliance with the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017.

The Gunshot Act 2017 mandates all hospitals in Nigeria tol accept or receive immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance.

It added that every person, including security agents, has a responsibility to assist individuals with gunshot wounds and ensure their swift transportation to the nearest medical facility.

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However, in recent months, there have been cases where healthcare providers have turned away gunshot victims, citing the absence of police reports as justification, and has resulted in the loss of lives.

Spokesperson of the ministry of health, Patricia Deworitshe, expressed concern about the slow or non-compliance by most medical facilities with the Gunshot Act 2017

“The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is concerned about the spate of gunshot incidences and refusal of some of the health facilities to administer treatment and care for the victim or patient without police report,” Deworitshe stated.

Deworitshe said that the minister of health, Muhammad Ali Pate, is working on the development of specific strategies to ensure nationwide compliance with the Act by healthcare facilities.

She, however, did not disclose the details of these strategies but said the minister called on all medical practitioners to comply with this national law by providing prompt treatment and care for these victims to prevent death

“The police is also urged to comply with and enforce the provisions of the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshot ACT 2017 with promptness as well as reassure the health facilities that treatment of gunshot victims is not illegal,” she added.

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