The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate, on Tuesday, expressed concern over the non-compliance to the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act 2017 in most medical facilities.

Pate said gunshot victims come under medical emergencies that require urgent attention to save the life of the patient or victim.

The Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

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The Act stipulates that every hospital in Nigeria, whether public or private, shall accept or receive for immediate and adequate treatment with or without police clearance; and every person, including security agents, shall render every possible assistance to any person with gunshot wounds, and ensure that the person is taken to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment.

However, a statement signed by the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Patricia Deworitshe, on Tuesday noted that in recent times, the society has witnessed a rise in the loss of lives as a result of the refusal of some health facilities to attend to gunshot and victims of one-chance who do not present police reports.

“Gunshot victims come under medical emergencies that require urgent attention to save the life of the patient or victim. It has come to the knowledge of the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, of the slow or non-compliance by most medical facilities going contrary to the Gunshot Act 2017 which mandates all medical facilities to provide for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots; and related matters.

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“In line with this mandate, the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is concerned about the spate of gunshot incidences and the refusal of some of the health facilities to administer treatment and care for the victim or patient without a police report.

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“The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Pate, therefore calls on all medical practitioners to comply with this national law by providing prompt treatment and care for these victims to prevent death while, strategies are being put in place by the Ministry to ensure compliance to the Act by Nigerian healthcare facilities,” the statement noted.

The Minister also urged the Police to comply with and enforce the provisions of the Act with promptness.

He reassured health facilities in the country that treatment of gunshot victims is not illegal.