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Senate Considers Bill To Establish Fund For Treatment Of Gunshot Victims

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The Senate has considered a bill seeking to amend the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshots Act, 2017.

The bill among others seeks to establish the Medical Emergency Assistance Fund to cover the treatment of victims of gunshot, knife wounds, and other life-threatening emergencies.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central).

Leading debate on the principles of the bill, Tinubu said that the intent behind the Compulsory Treatment and Care for the Victims of Gunshots Act, 2017, was to enforce treatment for victims of Gunshots injury.

She noted that prior to its enactment, victims of gunshot injuries were being refused treatment by hospitals, as a result of a misinterpretation of Section 4 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) Act 1990.

The lawmaker, however, explained that the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of gunshot Act, 2017, provides that every Hospital, public or private shall receive treatment, with or without police clearance, with or without monetary deposit, persons with gunshot wounds, and criminalizes contravention.

She noted that the Act provides a mechanism for reporting treatment of persons with gunshot wounds to police, and precludes persons from being the subject of embarrassing interrogation for helping victims.

“It’s however shocking that in spite of the Act, the flagrant disregard of human life continues unabated, it is particularly sad that we continue to let the brilliant and skillful mind go to waste, in what are apparently avoidable deaths.

“In a country where emergency response is almost non-existent, and getting victims to the hospital is already burdensome, it is sad that where the victims make it to a hospital alive, they are still denied treatment and left to die.

“This is not only barbaric and inhumane, but it is also a violation of the Hippocratic oath which medical professionals swear to.

“The situation is further made worse by the fact that obtaining these police reports has been commercialized by some, thus ensuring that there is no quick and easy way to get it done”, the lawmaker said.

She recalled that on Friday 15th of January, 2021, David Ntekim-Rex, a 22-year old Systems Engineer was on his way home from work and was attacked around Jibowu Yaba in the Lagos Central Senatorial District.

According to her, Policemen, upon arrival at the crime scene, were said to be more concerned with whether he was a ‘Yahoo Boy’ and building a report than about saving David.

Tinubu added, “it is alleged that he was rushed to the Military Hospital, Yaba where he was refused treatment on the basis that they could not ascertain whether or not he was a robber, and was subsequently moved to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) where he was not attended to before he gave up the ghost.”

Narrating another incident from December 2019, the lawmaker lamented that the victim, Moradeun Balogun, bled to death after she was stabbed at Gbagada in Lagos State and refused care at the nearest hospital where she had rushed to for medical attention.

Tinubu explained that the Compulsory Treatment of Victims of Gunshot Injuries Act when amended would give cover to victims of gunshot injuries, knife wounds, and other life-threatening emergencies.

She explained that the amendment bill is predicated on a need to ensure that the Act, passed into law in 2017, addresses the purpose for its enactment.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, in supporting the bill said that providing treatment for victims of gunshot injuries would assist security agencies in securing information from such persons needed to curb criminality in the country.

“If you get a criminal who is injured and say you won’t treat him, let him die, he dies with information that would have helped the security agencies curtail the reoccurrence of such criminality.

“As a nation that is looked at as the giant of Africa, we should set a good precedent that other nations in the African sub-region would follow”, he said.

On his part, Senator Ibikunle Amosun insisted that the sanctity of life must be protected at all cost, saying, “even if those people have committed those crimes, it is when they are alive that they can face the music, and others will learn from it.”

The bill after scaling the second reading was referred by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, to the Joint Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters; and Health (Secondary and Tertiary) for legislative inputs.

The Joint Committee was given four weeks to report back to the Senate.

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2022 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Registration To Start Nov 1

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Organisers of the 2022 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have set the official registration date to the 1st of November, 2021.

The Head of Communication and Media for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Mr. Olukayode Thomas, affirmed that the registration process and date for the 2022 race have been confirmed.

“Any interested participants in the Feb. 12, 2022 race will have the chance to register online or by picking hard copy forms at the Marathon Office inside the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“The forms for the 2022 race will also be made available in selected Access Bank branches.

“Unlike the last edition which was restricted to only elite runners, the 2022 race will be open to all, including fun runners in the 10-km category,” he said.

Mr. Thomas explained that across the world, road races had since returned to full capacity after the initial reduction in the number of participants and outright cancellations occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are back to full capacity just like the other top races across the world.

“With the return of the 10-km fun run, we should be having between 80,000 and 100,000 participants at the seventh edition of our yearly race.

“Already seen as the biggest one-day event on the continent, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is set to become the first marathon in Nigeria to organize the 7th edition.

“Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is also the first race to win a World Athletics Bronze Label in Africa after two editions and the first in the world to win the prestigious Silver Label after four editions,” he said.

Thomas stated that the race ranks among the top 10 in the world and in terms of the number of participants, the Lagos race is proudly among the top five in the world.

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Kanu Appears in Court, Pleads Not Guilty to Seven Count Charges

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Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, earlier today pleaded not guilty to the seven-count amended charge the Federal Government preferred against him.

Kanu, who was docked before trial Justice Binta Nyako, said he was innocent of all the allegations FG levelled against him after the charge was read to him in the open court.

His re-arraignment came on day the Department of State Services, DSS, blatantly refused to allow even a single journalist inside the courtroom.

Though this reporter and six other journalists were initially cleared at the main gate of the court to enter the premises, upon his arrival at the door leading to the courtroom, arm-wielding operatives of the secret service denied him entry.

The operatives insisted their action was based on “order from above”.

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Francis Megwa, an Inexperience Nigerian Doctor, Faces Panel in Ireland for Poor Professional Performance

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Francis Megwa, an inexperienced Nigerian doctor, described as ‘knowing next to nothing’ by doctors at University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) is facing the Irish medical panel for poor professional performance.

Dr. Megwa, who was fired by University Maternity Hospital Limerick (UMHL) for lacking basic medical knowledge claims he had always made the hospital authorities aware of his lack of experience.

Dr Francis Megwa told a medical inquiry that the panel who interviewed him for the job of senior house officer (SHO) at UMHL in April 2018 knew about his limitations but he still believed he was expected to improve “in days rather than months”.

A hearing of the Irish Medical Council’s fitness to practise (FTP) committee was informed that Dr Megwa had never worked in a paid role in a hospital since qualifying as a doctor in Romania in 2015.

“This was the level of experience I had before taking up the job which they knew,” Dr Megwa said.

A consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician who interviewed Dr Megwa for his post at UMHL in April 2018, Mendinaro Imcha, admitted the recruitment process could have been better but stated it had improved since the hospital had hired him.

The Nigerian-born doctor, who was placed on call on his first day in the job, is facing two charges of poor professional performance over his time working at UMHL between July 9, 2018, and August 14, 2018.

The IMC claims he failed to demonstrate basic competency in taking a patient’s clinical history, in diagnosing symptoms, inserting cannulas, and in prescribing common medication.

He is also charged with being unable to give a clear history about a pregnant woman who had presented at UMHL with vaginal bleeding or estimate her level of blood loss as well as failing to recommend appropriate treatment for her.

The inquiry heard earlier evidence from witnesses that Dr Megwa knew “near nothing”, was unable to take blood samples, and had to ask what an obstetrician was.

He was accused of incorrectly diagnosing the woman who was 35 weeks pregnant with a condition associated with the first weeks of pregnancy when she was actually suffering from a potential emergency complication.

The inquiry heard Dr Megwa had described working as a SHO with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Scotland because he felt it was the “most appropriate term”.

Dr Imcha said his CV stated he had previous work experience as an SHO and had completed an internship at his medical school in Romania.

He was also registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC) and had an EU medical qualification.

The FTP committee heard Dr Megwa had been ranked fourth out of five candidates on a panel to fill vacant SHO posts at UMHL.

He had been scored 55 out of 100 for his medical and diagnostic skills, 60 out of 100 for decision-making and initiative, and 70 out of 100 for communication and personal skills.

The interview panel had noted Dr Megwa was “short of experience but eager to work and learn”.

A member of the FTP committee, Veronica Larkin, said there appeared to be “a big mismatch” between the marks scored by Dr Megwa and his subsequent work performance.

Dr Imcha admitted she was “surprised and worried” when she was alerted within a few days of Dr Megwa taking up his post about problems with his performance, although she still wanted to give him a chance.

However, Dr Imcha said a decision was taken to assess the SHO’s competence after she was notified that his performance had not improved and other staff remained concerned about his treatment of patients.

Dr Imcha recalled how Dr Megwa, who had already been given an oral warning, struggled to answer questions based on what a final-year medical student should know, while she was also concerned that he was unable to specify the speciality he had done during his internship.

The consultant said she had made a complaint to the IMC about Dr Megwa as he lacked the basic knowledge expected of someone who had been to medical school for five or six years and completed an internship.

“We felt it may not be safe for him to continue,” she recalled.

Dr Imcha said she was unaware that Dr Megwa complained that he was shaking and panting with nerves during his assessment meeting.

Dr Megwa said he had learnt to take blood and fit cannulas after just a few days working at the hospital but claimed the only people who really helped him at UMHL were his fellow SHOs.

The hearing was adjourned until a future date.

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