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PUBLIC HEALTH BILL, 2017
This Bill seeks to replace, update and align to the Constitution the law relating to Public Health. The present Public Health Act was passed in 1924 and needs updating to meet the current health challenges and needs of the population. The Bill seeks to introduce the following new featm·es among others:
- Introduction oLImual National HealthFormns to be convened by the Public Health Advisory Board to discuss pertinent public health matters.
- Provincial and DistJict Health administJ·ation.
- Rights and duties iu Public Health to align with section 76 of the Constitution.
- Emergency treatment.
- Updated the lists of Notifiable disease to include en1erging conditions such as Viral haemorrhagic fevers and Yellmv Fever.
- Prevention and control of Non Communicable Diseases.
- Compulsory immtmisation of children and incapacitated persons.
- Water safety and sanitation including waste management.
- Intemational Health Regulations (2005).
- Establishment and objects of public health fuuds.
- Declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency.
- Penalties for non-cmnpli<.mce.The individual clauses of the proposed Bill explain in greater detail the reasoning beltind tltis Bill.
Part I contains provisions of short title and interpretations
Clause 1 provides for the title and date comn1encen1ent of the Bill. Clause 2 contains important tenns, definitions used throughout the Bill.
Part II contains administrative provisions of the public health system. It provides for the National, Provincial and District Health Administration
Clause 3 provides for the Ministry responsible for public health and its fm1ctions.
Clause 4 provides for the establishment and functions of the Advisory Board of Public Health.
Clauses 5 and 6 provide for theAtmual National Health Consultative Fmum and its conduct respecti vcly.
Clause 7 provides for the appointment and functions of the Chief Health Officer.
Clause 8 provides for the appoinlulent and fuuction of National and assistaut National Health Oflicers. These are Directors and Deputy Directors appointed by the Health Services Bom·d.
Clauses 9, 10, 11 and 12 provide for the appoiutJnent of Provincial Health Officers, other officers, members of the provincial health teams and ftmclions of the provincial health tea111s respectively.
Clauses 13, 14, 15 and 16 provide for the appointment of District Health Officers, functions, Other Officers and members of the District Health Teams respectively.
Clause 17 provides for the establishment and functions of health centre committees.
Clause 18 provides for the role played by a district administrator if no local authority exists.
Clauses 19 and 20 provide for the appointment and duties of Director Health Services in local authorities respectively.
Clause 21 provides for Government medical officers to be Director Health services in their respective rural districts.
Clause 23 provides for the requirements and procedure for removal of Director Health Services and environmental health officers.
Clause 24 provides for the powers of the Minister where Local authorities fail to appoint Director Health Services or environmental health officer.
Clause 25 provides for combined appointments where one is allowed to hold several positions at the same time.
Clause 26 outlines the duties of local authorities.
Clause 27 provides for the powers of the Minister in the event of local authorities
failing or refusing to perform duties as outlined in the Act.
Clause 28 mandates the Minister to develop Public Health Human Resources policies and guidelines.
Clause 29 gives the Minister Powers to make regulations relating to Human Resources to ensure among other things that adequate resources are available for education and training of health care personnel.
Part III contains issues of Health Services
Clause 30 spells out the principles of public health and practice which must guide
public health policy and practice.
Clause 31 imposes a duty to avoid harm to public health on every person.
Clause 32 provides that no health practitioner or establishment may refuse a person emergency treatment and the penalty for such refusal.
Clause 33 gives a duty on health practitioners to provide users with full knowledge of services available.
Clause 34 gives a requirement that consent must be given by clients or patients. Clause 35 provides for requirements for experiments and research in the Health