Lagos to launch health insurance scheme in June
The Lagos State government is to begin the much-awaited Community Health Insurance Scheme in June this year. Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who disclosed this at the 2017 Eko Health Mission conference in Alausa, Lagos, explained that the state government was working to ensure that all modalities are put in place before the commencement of the scheme.
“Come June we will start the soft launch of the health insurance scheme. We planned to start sometime last year but certain things stopped us. We are using both private and public facilities, that is why the modalities is taking quite a while because we have to get the technical aspect right. For instance, anybody that wants to participate in the scheme must conform to certain requirement. They have to be accredited. When accredited, we have to go and observe their facilities. The insurance agencies also have their own modalities. Let me say again, if anybody has a problem with the facilities, they should let us know so we can shut it down immediately. From now we have to start publicizing it, telling people what to do, how to go about it,” he explained.
He said the 2017 Eko Health Mission which has already begun would provide free healthcare services to residents of Lagos across the 20 Local Governments and 57 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
“These missions provide primary care services that take healthcare to the doorsteps of its citizens at no cost to the people. Although Medical Missions are short-term interventions, it is geared towards the strategic development plan of ensuring Universal Health Coverage. It is significant because it will enable this administration to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socio-economic status and affiliations,” he noted.
The commissioner added that the medical teams providing these services were competent professionals committed to ensuring that the mandate of the state government was fully realised.
Idris stated that the vision of sustainable healthcare and universal coverage demanded that the state adopted an approach that was not only efficient, but also effective in addressing the growing health demand of Lagos megacity.
In his words: “With a teeming population of over 22 million residents, the healthcare demands of this urban population are growing at an exponential rate, and as the cost of care with out-of-pocket payments are also increasing, the economic burden on our citizens are becoming more unbearable by the day. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“With the current economic downturn, the free health policy of the state has become inefficient to addressing these issues. Lagos residents will require a safety net to be in place to improve the health outcome of all residents, especially the most vulnerable in the society, as well as significantly reduce out-of-pocket payment that persists in Nigeria.
“Hence, it has become imperative that we provide adequate financial protection for our citizens through the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme. This health insurance scheme will take off this year and will be made mandatory for all residents of the state.”