By Chioma Obinna & Monsuru Olowoopejo
Worried by deaths recorded in hospitals over the paucity of funds, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State recently launched the State Health Insurance Scheme, LSHS, to improve indigent patients’ ability to access sound healthcare service even as he said that the scheme will significantly reduce lives and productivity lost to illness.
Ambode said it was targeted at providing unhindered access to sustainable, quality and affordable healthcare services which would be accompanied by financial risk protection including subsidy from the government.
Ambode, launching the Lagos State Health Scheme in the presence of the All Progressives Congress, APC Gubernatorial Candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others, maintained that the Scheme was compulsory.
“It is a known fact that out of pocket payment for healthcare deters access to Health Services especially for indigents and other vulnerable persons in our society.
“This situation contributes to increased morbidity and mortality with the resultant adverse effect on the human capital development and economic prosperity of Lagos.
“To ensure that the indigent and vulnerable, who are most susceptible to the difficulties of out of pocket payments for healthcare, are enrolled into the Lagos State Health Scheme, we have set aside 1 percent of the State’s consolidated revenue in the 2018 budget for this purpose.
“By Law, this scheme is mandatory for all residents of the State. That is the trend nationwide. The process of identifying and registering the beneficiaries has commenced in a number of our developing communities whose residents are mostly indigent,” he added.
Ambode, however, called on partners in the Private Sector to see the LSHS as an effective vehicle to positively impact their communities.
Earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, disclosed that the poor and vulnerable individuals would be identified through a transparent and scientific means testing exercise, saying, this will be carried out periodically. “Therefore, the number of lives and the productivity lost to illness will be significantly reduced. As I speak, we are enrolling some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in the state in the Alimosho local government area and Makoko area of Yaba LCDA. At the end of the exercise, it is expected that over 15,000 individuals will be enrolled by the scheme as a start.”
He said to assure affordability and sustainability, the package and its attendant cost were further reviewed downwards while ensuring that the basic health needs of the population would be addressed. It includes basic primary healthcare services and selected secondary health services such as treatment and management of malaria, hypertension, common childhood illnesses, antenatal care services, delivery including C-section.”
General Manager, Lagos State Health management Agency, LASHMA, Dr. Peju Adenusi, disclosed that the scheme covered some selected surgeries and non-communicable diseases.
She said: “The scheme covered Maternal and child healthcare, common ailments such as malaria, high blood pressure and selected surgeries like appendicitis and hernia.”