The National Dermatology (Specialist) Hospital Bill, on Wednesday scaled second reading at the Senate.
The bill sponsored by Senator Aishatu Dahiru (APC-Adamawa) was aimed at establishing specialist hospital that would focus on the treatment of leprosy, skin cancer and other skin diseases.
Leading the debate on the bill, the lawmaker recalled that as far back as 1929, an international hospital was established for Garkida Agricultural Leper Colony by the Church of the Brethren Mission, USA.
“it was an ambitious effort located on 2,500 acres of land designed for treatment of leprosy and other illnesses. It was also an isolation centre and for training of lepers in craft and improved agricultural methods.
“It was a reputable hospital with 12,507 leprosy patients admitted between 1929 and 2002 with reasonable number of patients coming from neighbouring countries.
“With the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s and the use of dapsone to treat leprosy, the role of the hospital changed.
“Dr. Roy Pfaltzgraff, who was the Medical Superintendent between 1954 and 1982, transformed the hospital to an international centre for developmental work in surgical rehabilitation, physiotherapy, protective footwear, prostheses and training,” Dahiru said.
The senator added that the hospital will allow speciality care providers to focus on particular areas of care in which they have extensive training and education.
“The tears and frustration expressed by patients with pigmentary disorders and the psychological impact of these disorders will be effectively handled by the hospital,” Dahiru said.
The bill was referred by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Health for further legislative action, and the committee is expected to report back in four weeks.