By Benjamin Omoike
Lagos State First Lady, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday urged residents to sign up for the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS), saying it is in the collective interest of the state and wellbeing of the people, for all to join the train.
Sanwo-Olu, who spoke at the LTV Blue Roof in Agidingbi, Ikeja, during the launch of ‘Ilera Eko Day’, which is a symbolic social campaign designed to integrate Lagos residents to the health insurance policy of the state government, said the scheme aptly signifies the commitment of the present administration towards promoting human right to health and resilient healthcare network.
She said: “Essentially, the scheme, which is administered by the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), is aimed at ensuring Lagosians have access to the needed healthcare without suffering financial hardship; close the gap between the demand for health spending and available public resources, as well as reduce the prolonged reliance on out-of-pocket spending by families across the state.
“The evolution of this scheme identifies with the global clarion call to inclusive health make-up which is termed Universal Health Coverage. This was conceptualized to close glaring coverage gaps and meet the health targets agreed under the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Describing health as a foundational investment in human capital and economic growth, the First Lady said it allows countries to make the most of their strongest asset – human capital, adding: “With good health structure, children are able to go to school and adults are able to go to work.”
She said Ilera Eko would be playing a key role in pursuing the health policy objectives of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda by expanding the coverage of the Family Health Strategy and scale up the quality of health services, thereby attracting and retaining qualified health professionals.
She said the harsh lessons of COVID-19 had sparked new urgency around health systems and universal health coverage, saying focus was now shifting towards preventive healthcare as against curative health.
“As we embark on this path to Universal Health Coverage, Ilera Eko is passionately calling us to take responsibility for our health. We are determined to leave no one behind.
“All residents, regardless of socio-economic and ethno-religious identity, including the vulnerable are encouraged to make the right choices by signing up for this scheme because our lives, livelihoods and future depend on it,” the First Lady said.
Earlier, Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi said the launch of Ilera Eko marked a distinct milestone in the state government’s effort to ensure the sustained access to quality and affordable healthcare to the teeming population.
He said in recognition of the economic status of many Lagosians, especially the less privileged, the state government was currently providing free health insurance to 40,000 residents.
Abayomi said the state government has also launched a crowd funding programme and installment payment plan, all geared towards providing access for residents and ramping up facilities in the state for effective and efficient healthcare.
On his part, Chairman of LASHMA Board, Dr Adetokunbo Alakija said Ilera Eko would be celebrated annually to mark the state’s journey to 100 percent coverage of informal sector into the state health scheme.
Under the LSHS, premium for a family of six is N40,000 per annum, while N8,500 is for individual within the same period.
The healthcare services covered under scheme include outpatient care for common ailments and conditions; maternal, newborn and child care including caeserean section where necessary; access to family planning counseling and services; management of uncomplicated chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, among others; access to HIV and TB testing services; minor surgeries such as incision drainage, herniorraphy, appendectomy; and health promotion and diseases prevention.