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LAGOS EXTENDS FREE HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE TO 230,000 VULNERABLE RESIDENTS

… Disburses N750 Million Equity Funds as Insurance Coverage for Vulnerable Residents

No fewer than 230,000 indigent and vulnerable residents of Lagos State, including members of elderly and orphanage homes, vulnerable persons living with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Sickle cell Anaemia, and victims of domestic and sexual violence spread across the 57 local government and local council development areas are currently benefitting from free health insurance coverage sponsored by the State Government through the Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA).

Speaking at the media launch of the Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA) held at the Providence Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that EkoSHA, an initiative of the Lagos State State Government coordinated through the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), is an alliance of private institutions, public institutions, development and multilateral partners and individuals seeking the good of all residents of Lagos.

He said: “The initiative is designed to mobilise adequate funds to help the identified vulnerable residents of Lagos State to access health insurance through the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan under the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS). EkoSHA will also provide access to social welfare empowerment programmes so that beneficiaries do not only have health insurance but are provided opportunity and support that will gradually lift them out of poverty”.

Abayomi, who was represented by the Director, Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Funmilayo Shokunbi further explained that the alliance, in addition to mobilising more funds to help the identified vulnerable residents access health insurance, will also collaborate with different departments and agencies engaged in social welfare empowerment and poverty alleviation programs so that beneficiaries do not only have health insurance but are provided an opportunity to enhance their ability to attain sustainable livelihood.

Abayomi noted that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu graciously approved 1% of the State’s Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) as an equity fund to pay for residents who cannot afford to pay health insurance for themselves in order to ensure that Lagos State residents, including its vulnerable population, have access to the state health scheme. 

The Commissioner disclosed that since the commencement of access to care for the vulnerable residents 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 (BHCPF), and sponsorships from a few individuals and organisations to provide health insurance for the vulnerable residents of the State.

While noting that the media launch programme is intended to raise the level of public awareness for the EkoSHA initiative to stir up a positive reaction in the minds and hearts of well-meaning Lagosians and Nigerians to raise funds to pay for the health insurance coverage of millions of vulnerable residents of the State, Abayomi called on philanthropists, well-meaning people and organisations to key into the alliance and contribute their quota in their various capacity.

Speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, who was represented by the Director, Diseases Control, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite noted that the objective of the EkoSHA initiative is anchored on mobilising additional funds through a strategic alliance with suitable financial institutions leveraging on a crowd-funding financing model to provide more funding options for the health care of the vulnerable residents of Lagos.

According to him, other objectives of the initiative include urging funding partners and facilitators like banks, local and international donor agencies, corporate bodies, religious organisations, NGOs and high networth individuals to register for the adoption of vulnerable residents by paying premiums for their healthcare coverage and providing a social safety net for beneficiaries through access to the state’s numerous empowerment programmes. 

Ogboye explained further that the initiative targets the vulnerable and indigent persons as defined by in the LSHS Law which includes members of the Lagos State Social Register (LSSR); vulnerable persons living with special conditions such as Tuberculosis, HIV/Aids, Sickle Cell Anemia and Lupus; victims of sexual and domestic violence, teen moms, members of Destitute, Orphanage and Elderly Homes as well as other vulnerable groups as determined by LASHMA.

While commending the Governor of Lagos and the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo Olu for their passion and commitment to ensuring that indigents, domestic and sexually abuse vulnerable live a good and healthy life, the Permanent Secretary stated that the State Government is always open to collaborations from everyone who has the interest of the vulnerable and indigent people at heart and can partner with the government to sponsor beneficiaries in any of the three EKOSHA ACE Model of adoption, crowdfunding and events model designed to raise additional funds for the healthcare of the vulnerable and indigents in the State.

He revealed that interested members of the public can make enquiries to participate in the EKOSHA initiative by contacting LASHMA or through https://ekosah.org/ www.lashma.com or email: [email protected] or through a phone call to 0800ASKLASHMA (0800275527462). 

General Manager, LASHMA, Dr. Emannuella Zamba assured that the agency remains committed to ensuring that equal opportunity is given to those who cannot afford to pay the ILERA EKO premium in line with Section 20 of the LSHS Law, which stipulates that the Agency should ensure the availability of alternative sources of funding to the health sector for improved services.

“Let me buttress the fact that EkoSHA was formed to increase vulnerable coverage on the Lagos State Health Scheme to complement Government efforts and resources as well as collaborate with Lagos State MDAs and organisations in charge of skill acquisitions, social welfare and empowerment programmes so that apart from enjoying ILERA EKO, they can equally acquire skills, stand on their own and become employers of labour. This, of course, will go a long way in making life meaningful to the vulnerable and indigents in our society”, she said.

Zamba appreciated various donors and developmental partners, organisations, political leaders, Nigerians in the diaspora, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and eminent personalities who have contributed in no small measure to help achieve the objective of EkoSHA.

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