66% of Lagosians can’t afford quality healthcare, says health commissioner
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that about 66 per cent of Lagos residents cannot pay for quality healthcare as they live below the poverty threshold.
He said this percentage of people in the state could not pay for healthcare and could not be captured in the insurance scheme.
Abayomi, who spoke yesterday at a press briefing organised by the state Ministry of Health, said with the health insurance scheme aimed to ensure accessibility and affordability, only 33 per cent of people who were well to do could access it.
He said if the whole equity funds of the state were used to address the issue, they would only cater for five per cent of the under-privileged population who could not afford healthcare, leaving 61 per cent out.
He, therefore, said that the state needed at least N50 to N60 billion to rescue the under-privileged for them to enter the scheme.
“We have to address the health of the under-privileged people. We feel they are one step away from poverty and they don’t have the capacity to respond to sickness,” he said.
Abayomi said that despite the Abuja Declaration of 15 per cent budget allocation to health, Lagos State is performing at eight per cent of its budget allocated to healthcare with plans to achieve more than the target.
He said it is necessary that government subsidises healthcare as billions of dollar are needed for the sector to advance, which he said, could not make Lagos State to key into the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund that provides N1 billion funding for each state in the country to address healthcare need.
“We are talking about billions of dollar investment in healthcare. If we want our health system to grow, we need to invest more. We need at least N80 billion for healthcare in Lagos State.”
Meanwhile, the commissioner said that the state government needed to monitor a large number of animals coming into the state to prevent diseases.
On the issue of monkeypox cases in Lagos State, he affirmed that there were three cases detected that have been tackled, as the victims were admitted and given immediate treatment and have been discharged and back to their normal life.
He said the state had put measures in place to prevent any case from arising, noting that the reason for this epidemic, which is transmitted from monkey to human, is due to the influx of animals into the country.
He added that the government needed to monitor what comes into the country.