Two Health Acts at Senate for Enactment

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent two health-related instruments to the Liberian Senate for enactment.

The first Act is to Amend the Public Health Law Title 33, Liberian Code of Laws, Revised to add Part VIII: Health and Related Rights, Chapter 1 Reproductive Rights.

The second Act sent to the Senate by President Sirleaf in her communication dated April16, 2014, is to Amend Sub-Chapter  F: Special Proceedings Concerning Mentally Disabled and Legally Incompetent Persons, Civil Procedure Law, Title 1, Liberian Code of Laws Revised (Mentally Health Procedural Act).

According to President Sirleaf, the Public Health Law Act before the Senate for amendment is in furtherance of Liberia’s commitment, as a signatory to several international Resolutions and Conventions that strive to improve sexual and reproductive health including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women (CEDAW). 

President Sirleaf informed the lawmakers that the Act seeks amongst other things, to provide for the protection and advancement of sexual and reproductive health rights for all persons, promote women's health and maternal and newborn health, ensure the access to provision of quality family planning and counseling services, and make provisions for the preventions and management of infertility.

On the Act concerning the “Mentally Disabled and Legally Incompetent Persons,” President Sirleaf said it is an “Amendment of Liberia’s Civil Procedure Law concerning mentally disabled and legally incompetent persons.”

The Act according to the President’s communication, includes an expanded and revised “definition of terms” incorporating more appropriate sector-specific language. Additionally, the President said procedural safeguards have been placed in the Act concerning temporary custody of persons believed to be mentally disabled, requirements for filing a petition for judicial review of certification that a person is mentally ill; adjudication of incompetency and appointment of guardian, and restoration to legal capacity and discharge of guardians.

“Mr. President Pro Tempore, these two instruments are very important to Liberia’s health sector and by extension, the general health and welfare of our citizens. The former manifests Government’s commitment to the general of …promoting safety, health and welfare facilities…as expressed and envisaged under Article 8 of the Constitution, while the latter ensures that the procedural laws and accompanying safeguards, governing special proceedings for mentally disabled persons are in harmony with the Public Health Law.”

The document was sent to the Senate committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women & Children Affairs, chaired by Grand Kru County Senator (Dr.) Peter Sonpon Coleman for recommendation to plenary for action.

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