National, News

South Sudan Parliament passes Public Health Bill

By Bida Elly David

Transitional National Legislative Assembly(R-TNLA), on Monday passed a long-awaited South Sudan Public Health Initiative Act amended bill 2023 into Law.

The major aim of the bill is to establish an Initiative to serve as Center of excellence for supervision, control and coordination of all matters relating to public health.

Hon. Edward Dominic, chairperson of specialized committee on health and population said the Initiative shall set up a review board on public health and research.

The review board on public health and research is aimed at beefing illegal medical institutes across the Country.

According to Dominic, the bill empowers the national Initiative to ensure quarantine and isolation of all persons in the event of communicable diseases with potential public health threats.

The bill also vests the Initiative with the right to provide leadership and direction to states, counties, payams and bomas on disease surveillance and outbreak response.

The Initiative shall collaborate with relevant government departments and agencies to implement communication strategies on public health issues and outbreak response.

“It shall also recommend the declaration of public health emergency based on disease outbreaks and public health data,” Dominic explained.

The bill also mandates national health institutes to conduct periodic monitoring and evaluation programs on policies and interventions to ensure the targeted objectives are achieved.

Dominic stressed that the bill grants the national Initiative powers to provide technical support to all spheres of government and other regulatory bodies on disease surveillance, prevention and control.

One of the roles the Initiative shall play is to conduct regular research to inform policy and guidelines on public health as well as develop processes for dissemination of findings to key stakeholders.

“The national health Initiative shall collaborate with any other relevant institutions in line with one health approach and perform any other powers and functions as may be required by the board,”

It grants the national Initiative the power to promote cooperation between South Sudan and other Countries with regard to epidemiological surveillance putting boarders into priority.

“Coordinate public health laboratory network for efficient and effective referral services,” the bill reads,

According to the committee’s report the national Initiative shall be composed of 19 members from different institutions.

Members of the board shall elect a chairperson among themselves, whereas members of the board and the chairperson shall be appointed by the president of the Republic of South Sudan upon recommendation of the minister.

After thorough deliberation of the report by the August House, the amendment bill was passed in its totality, awaiting the President’s signature to seal it enactment process.

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