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Lagos moots compulsory health insurance scheme

…Says N40,000 will cover family of 6

By Gabriel Olawale

The Lagos State Government is set to unveil its Compulsory Health Insurance Scheme that will avail Lagos residents access to quality healthcare.

Speaking during a media capacity-building workshop organised by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Health Finance and Governance, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said the government could not fund the health sector alone due to limited resources.

According to him, the government, under the health insurance scheme, will partner with the private sector to provide healthcare services to the people.

“Lagos has the largest population of health workers but inadequate for what needs to be done. The  bulk of our budget in health goes to payment of salary, that is why we considered health insurance.

“Before now, we have always run free health services for health workers and members of the public. But we realise that nothing is free; we do not have the amount of money required to run free health services. That is why at this stage everybody must contribute,’’ he said.

Finance is one of the key components of building quality health system; without that, many things cannot work effectively. Our health insurance scheme is compulsory, globally, no country with voluntary scheme  has been successful.

Corroborating his view, the General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency, Dr. Peju Adenusi said that the  premium of the scheme is N40,000 per annum for family of six. “Full subsidies for five per cent coverage of the very poor. Single person will pay N8,500 while additional family member is N6,000.

“Public servants in the state will pay 25 per cent of their contributions, while the government pays 75 per cent.

“The scheme will cover antenatal and postnatal care, normal delivery and caesarean section, care of new born, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, immunisation, growth monitoring and promotion.

“Management of childhood illnesses, family planning and counselling, prevention and control of malaria, non-communicable diseases, diabetes, hypertension, emergency health services, minor surgeries, anaesthesia, dental care, among others.

On her part, State Programme Co-ordinator, United States Agency for International Development Funded-Health Finance and Governance, Harriet Udeme said that for Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage, UHC, there was need to put structures and finance in place.

Udeme said that with UHC, the country should be able to achieve all levels of healthcare, including preventive, curative and rehabilitative care at the time we need it without financial burden.

According to her, health insurance scheme is a step in the right direction toward achieving UHC as it will enable everybody to access care without financial hardship. Further, Idris said the Information and Communications Technology, ICT, part of the scheme was needed  to warehouse  data. the scheme is compulsory for every resident in the state. Public servants are to pay 25 per cent of their contributions, while the government pays 75 per cent. About N8 billion every year is required to sustain the scheme. The state government, under the scheme, will partner with the private sector to provide healthcare services to the people. There are basic Primary Health Care issues to contend with such as nutrition, sanitation and immunisation.

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