As Lagos spreads the good news of ‘Ilera Eko’
It is no longer news that the Lagos State Government has launched ‘Ilera Eko’ with the aim of achieving universal health coverage for all Lagosians.
The real news, however, is that happy days are here for Lagosians as the government has taken the ‘Ilera Eko’ campaign to a new height by establishing offices at the grassroots. This is to further make it possible for vulnerable residents to have access to effective, quality and affordable health care services.
In the last few weeks, the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has inaugurated ‘Ilera Eko’s offices across the state to ensure that more residents are well-covered by the scheme.
The benefits of the scheme include outpatient care for common ailments and conditions such as malaria, management of uncomplicated chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
Other benefits, the chairman said, include treatment of HIV and tuberculosis, minor surgeries such as incision drainage, herniorrhaphy, appendectomy, pharmaceutical care, health promotion and diseases prevention.
Subscribers to the scheme are able to receive treatment at a registered hospital without payment as long as it covers the scope of the scheme subscribed to.
Subscribers also enjoy a free consultation with the doctor as well as free drug prescription and dosage. There are different packages, which include family and individual plans.
The annual payment of N40, 000 covers a family of six, which automatically grants them access to a full year of uninterrupted access to hospitals registered to the family. An individual can also enjoy the same benefits with N8, 500 annually, at any hospital of their choice, under the State Health scheme. However, children that are 18 years and above would have to register under the individual plan.
In her remark, at the Ikorodu launch, General Manager, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuelle Zamba, urged residents of Ikorodu to support the programme and take full advantage of the scheme that is open to all. She disclosed that they can register through any of the LASHMA designated enrollment points spread across the State or via LASHMA website – lashma.com or www.lashma.lagosstate.gov.ng having paid the premium in any of the Banks in the State.
While urging Ikorodu residents to make good use of the opportunity and enjoy quality health care treatments in their vicinity, Zamba commended the efforts of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration for its determination towards ensuring accessible and affordable health care for Lagosians.
A few days after the inauguration of the Ikorodu Centre, another ‘Ilera Eko’ office was opened at Ikotun. The government’s overall intention in spreading the scheme across the state is to reduce the cost of accessing medical services by the citizenry. LASHMA has registration points and enrollment officers in various Local Governments (LGs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state
The ‘Ilera Eko’ train also berthed in Epe, with the same good news of accessibility to quality health service. Speaking during the launch at Epe, Dr. Zamba urged residents of Epe and its environs to enroll for the scheme, stressing that it will enable them access prompt and cost effective healthcare.
She disclosed that the scheme has made provision for a quarterly installment policy for unions, groups and associations, scheduled to take off by the 4th quarter of the year.
As part of efforts to ensure more Lagosians embrace the ‘Ilera Eko’ scheme, LASHMA has also continued to partner individuals and organisations with similar vision. Recently, the Senator representing the Lagos Central Senatorial District, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, enrolled 200 women and youths on the health plan.
Speaking at the enrollment ceremony held at Iru/Victoria Island Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Dr. Zamba reiterated the commitment of the Sanwo-Olu administration to ensuring that no one is left behind in having access to healthcare services.
She advised the beneficiaries of the health plan to take their health and wellbeing as priority, stressing that they should give sufficient attention to their health just as they concentrate on their businesses and other aspects of life.
Zamba said that the partnership with Senator Tinubu signified the beginning of a new trend for the Agency and the scheme. She implored the beneficiaries to judiciously use the gift to achieve the desired objective of their benefactor.
In her remark, Senator Tinubu said she took the decision to partner the scheme due to her concern for the indigent residents in her senatorial district. According to her, the partnership with LASHMA would give the beneficiaries an opportunity to access proper healthcare for one year for any ailment covered under the health plan without paying additional money.
Similarly, LASHMA has also partnered 60PLUS Advocacy Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), to sensitise and enrol elderly citizens on the health scheme.
Speaking at a sensitisation event organised to educate the elderly on ‘ILERA EKO’ at Isolo General Hospital, Isolo, Dr. Zamba said that the partnership became necessary to ensure that senior citizens live a healthy life.
She disclosed that the Sanwo-Olu-led administration is committed to ensuring that the elderly live a comfortable life devoid of sickness, fear and stress.
She promised that the Agency would do its best to ensure that all residents, irrespective of their cultural, social and religious backgrounds, have access to affordable healthcare services.
A member of the Governing Council, 60PLUS Advocacy Initiative, Mrs. Iyabode Obasa, said that the NGO partnered LASHMA to ensure that the elderly are healthy.
‘Ilera Eko’ is the word that affirms the Sanwo-Olu administration’s vision for Lagos State. It is also a call to action for everybody to take responsibility and be more aware of the need to cultivate a habit of wellness. Health care is not only needed when you are sick, the habit of wellness must become a tradition.
‘Ilera Eko’ is tilted toward the non-formal sector because it is not about the rich. The private HMOs are looking after them already. It is the masses that are about 70% of the population that the scheme focuses on.
The Lagos State Health Financing Policy was developed in 2014 as a tool to articulate strategies in bridging the health financial gaps and develop sustainable health financing directions, with focus on innovative exploration of alternative sources of financing to the residents of Lagos State.
In furtherance to the health financing policy, Lagos State Government enacted the Lagos State Health Scheme Law in May 2015, which established LASHMA, the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) and the Lagos State Health Fund (LSHF).
In sum, the health insurance scheme is a way to save for the rainy days, as a citizen may not know when he or she may fall sick. It would also help to eliminate out-of-pocket payment for health, which is the way to go, as most developed countries started it many years ago. This is why the government is going all out to spread the good news of Ilera Eko across the state. Lagosians are, therefore, enjoined to embrace the scheme in order to enjoy its benefits.
Adebayo is of the Features Unit, Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja.