Parliament passes public health bill

Parliament on Wednesday passed 40-1 a public health bill submitted by Independent MP for Kulhudhufushi South, Mohamed Nasheed, more than two years ago.

The legislation (Dhivehi) specifies guidelines for protection of public health and includes penalties for violations.

While the Health Minister would be responsible for public health matters, the law proposes the formation of a Health Protection Agency with powers to appoint officials to various posts in the health sector, quarantining and carrying out inspections.

If the bill is ratified by the President, a public health fund would be established with proceeds from licensing fees, payments from services, fines and a portion of import duties from cigarettes and tobacco.