By CHIOMA OBINNA AND MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
LAGOS — Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, said the state would no longer provide free medical services to patients suffering terminal diseases, even as he commissioned the first Trauma and Burns Centre in the country.
The Governor, who spoke while commissioning the centre at the Gbagada General Hospital, Kosofe Local Government Area of the state, explained that the state free healthcare policy could not cover terminal diseases like complicated surgeries, child birth, kidney and cancer, among others.
He, however, said the state would continue to provide free healthcare on ante-natal care, malaria, especially for certain segments of the society.
According to him: “This is why I think that citizens must sign up to medical insurance. This is because when we complete the challenges of infrastructure and welfare, we will move to the most defining issue, which is medical insurance.
“With this, citizens will be their own insurance from where the free healthcare stops.”
Giving reasons for the decision, Fashola said: “The rate, at which our population is growing, is not commensurate with the rate at which the state resources are growing.”
On the facility, the governor said: “The aim is to protect the life of the residents and to reduce the rate of patients traveling abroad to seek such treatment.
“I remember in 2007, there was a major fire incident at Alimosho axis of the state. The medical officials were available, but they were helpless, as the facilities were lacking. And that left an indelible mark on my mind, because I saw people affected by the fire, struggling for life.
“This informed why I decided that the state must provide facility that would cater for such cases.
“And this burns unit has the equipment for the treatment and management of people that have acute burns, and can provide plastic surgeries for patients.”