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Health News of Thursday, 22 December 2022


Over 230,000 vulnerable Lagos residents accessing free healthcare — Commissioner

Lagos State Health Commissioner Prof Akin Abayomi Lagos State Health Commissioner Prof Akin Abayomi

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday, said over 230,000 vulnerable residents of the state are accessing free healthcare under its health insurance scheme known as ILERA EKO Social Health Plan.

The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed this at the unveiling of a new health initiative, known as EKO Social Health Alliance by the Lagos State Health Management Agency.

Abayomi who was represented at the media launch by the Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programme in the ministry, Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi, said the state government was working relentlessly towards achieving universal health coverage in the state.

The commissioner said, “Since the commencement of access to care for the vulnerable on the ILERA EKO Social Health Plan in 2020, a total of N750 million has been disbursed as equity fund in addition to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, and sponsorships from individuals /organisations; to provide health insurance for the vulnerable residents of the state. Currently, over 230,000 residents fall under this group and enjoy free healthcare on the scheme at no cost to them.

“This group of people spread across the 57 Local Government Areas/ Local Council Development Areas of the state, including members of the elderly and orphanage homes, vulnerable persons living with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, sickle cell anaemia, also victims of domestic and social violence.”

Abayomi stated that to complement the government’s effort, LASHMA took the initiative to commence the implementation of its resource mobilisation function as provided in Section 20 of the Lagos State Health Scheme Law 2015 by establishing the EKO Social Health Alliance.

“EKOSHA has been designed to mobilise additional funds to help the identified vulnerable group in Lagos State access health insurance through the ILERA EKO Social Health Plan.

“EKOSHA will collaborate with social welfare and empowerment ministries, departments, and agencies/organisations to provide a means of livelihood for these beneficiaries such that they do not remain dependent and can eventually afford to pay health insurance premiums for themselves,” the commissioner said.

General Manager of LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, in her remarks, said, “Let me buttress that EKOSHA was formed to increase vulnerable coverage on the Lagos State Health Scheme to complement government effort and resources as well as collaborate with Lagos State MDAs and organisations in charge of skill acquisitions, social welfare and empowerment programmes.

Also speaking, a board member of LASHMA, Ayo Adebusoye, said it was equally important that while the residents who could afford to pay their health insurance premiums were accessing care, those who could not also afford to pay, should access care.

“Let me state here that it is the collective responsibility of every one of us to ensure that the vulnerable also enjoy the dividends of democracy and access care without having to run helter-skelter for soliciting funds to pay their medical bills out of pocket,” he said.