The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has possed a bill on infectious diseases, into law. The law deals essentially on how to control the spread of such diseases. The bill is an internal control mechanism. The provisions of the Bill include the power of the governor during outbreak of infectious diseases. It states that the governor, upon the advice of Commissioner for Health, can prohibit the movement of corpses into the state.
The Bill also provides that upon the occurrence of any death in the state, the relations of the deceased person shall report such death to the medical officer in charge of the place where the death occurred and where the medical officer is of the opinion that a person has died of an infectious disease, the medical officer may confiscate the corpse for the purpose of cremation. The Bill also provides for medical certificate of the cause of death, isolation on contacts, medical examination of contacts, isolation and cremation centres, burial within three months, prohibition of uncertified embalmment centres as well as presentation of medical certificate of cause of death at embalmment centres.
In his remarks during plenary, the Speaker Rt. Hon. Samuel Ikon who presided over the sitting commended the President Goodluck Jonathan and the immediate past minister of Health and the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State governor for acting pro-actively in praised spread of Ebola. The speaker also called on relevant security agencies to protect our borders and ensure that we do not have another Patrick Sawyer sneak into Nigeria again and cause us pains.
Speaking with Assembly correspondents shortly after plenary, Chairman House Committee on Health, Hon (Elder) Friday Iwok pointed out certain areas the committee amended in the Executive Bill to include penalty for operating a mortuary without proper certification from the Ministry of Health, the duration for a corpse burial which must not be more than three months and the cremation of corpses certified to have died of infectious disease, maintaining that the new law seeks to protect Akwa Ibom people.