The Lagos State Government Tuesday disclosed that it will henceforth set aside one per cent of its consolidated revenue to fund public health in the state, especially for the indigent and vulnerable residents.
The state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, made the disclosure while unveiling the State Health Insurance Scheme at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island.
He unveiled the scheme alongside Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris; and the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others.
Speaking at the unveiling, Ambode explained the essence of the health insurance scheme, noting that it was purposefully designed to address deaths recorded in the state’s hospitals, due largely to what he ascribed to paucity of funds.
Ambode added that it was targeted at providing unhindered access to sustainable, quality and affordable healthcare services which would be accompanied with financial risk protection including subsidy from the state government.
On this ground, the governor said: “To ensure that the indigent and vulnerable persons 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 per cent 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.”
Ambode said the scheme “is compulsory. It is a known fact that out-of-pocket payment for healthcare deters access to health services especially for indigent 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”.
Ambode, however, said the state government “cannot ensure the success of the scheme. I therefore call on our partners in the private sector to see the scheme as an effective vehicle to positively impact their communities”.
Also speaking during the inauguration, Idris said the poor and vulnerable individuals would be identified through a transparent and scientific means testing exercise, noting that this will be carried out periodically.
He explained that 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, according to the commissioner, it is expected that over 15,000 individuals will be enrolled by the scheme as a start.
In her message, the General Manager of Lagos State Health management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Peju Adenusi, said the scheme covered some selected surgeries and non-communicable diseases.
She said the scheme covered maternal and child healthcare, common ailment such as malaria, high blood pressure and selected surgeries like appendicitis and hernia.