Lagos Partners Basic Health Care Provision Fund for UHC
The Lagos State Government has flagged off the enrolment of 55,000 vulnerable and indigent citizens across the 20 Local Government Areas in partnership with the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund, to further its commitment to advancing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the State.
At the flag off held at Rauf Aregbesola Primary Healthcare Centre, Mosan, Alimosho, the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the Lagos State Government set aside one percent of its consolidated revenue fund as equity fund to provide health insurance for about 70% of Lagos’ vulnerable and indigent residents, who live below the poverty line of $1.9 per day and, as such, cannot afford to pay health insurance premium.
According to him, “the beneficiaries were identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated, while implementation will commence first with the 20 healthcare facilities empanelled on the scheme and subsequently extended to all other Lagos State Health Scheme empanelled facilities soonest”.
Prof. Abayomi promised that the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) will continue to grow the vulnerable register and develop better innovative ways to provide access to quality healthcare services for all residents.
Abayomi commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for ensuring that no one is left behind in living a healthy and productive life in the State despite the economic challenges and emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that presently, members of the elderly and orphanage homes have been enrolled on ILERA EKO, through the equity fund.
The Commissioner revealed that the Federal Government supported the State by disbursing funds to onboard the 55,000 vulnerable and indigent citizens in order to expand ILERA EKO coverage across Lagos, as he commended the Federal Government for the provision of funds and gave an assurance that the funds will be judiciously expended.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Mr. Hakeem Shokunle, said that the Basic Health Care Provision Fund is an innovative approach to complement and expand the coverage of the State Health Insurance Scheme.
“The provision of the fund will no doubt complement the efforts of the Lagos State Government in pursuit of the T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda and Universal Health Coverage”, he said.
The Committee Chairman further said that the Lagos State House of Assembly will continue to support the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to ensure the successful implementation of the fund, assuring that the State Government will sustain its commitment to ensuring the good health of all residents, irrespective of their economic, social or cultural background.
In his own contribution, the State Coordinator, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Mrs. Aisha Haruna, representing the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo, reiterated that the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund was established to provide cover for the vulnerable citizens of Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary said that the release of one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to increase the overall financing of the health sector will no doubt reduce financial barriers to accessing primary healthcare services and help to attain Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
His words: “I implore the Lagos State Government to ensure an effective and efficient implementation of the funds for accountability and transparency as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will continue to provide technical support to the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) for the successful implementation of the fund”.
While commending the Lagos State Government for its policy decision on the health scheme, the Chairman, Mosan Okunola Local Council Development Area, Princess Olabisi Adebajo, expressed delight that the project kicked off in the Local Council Development Area and brought free healthcare to the doorstep of the people.
She congratulated the residents, who were beneficiaries of the health insurance fund, and urged them to pay attention to their health.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Adetokunbo Alakija, represented by a member of the LASHMA Board, Dr. Tunji Akintade, said that the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund is a collaboration between the Lagos State Government, through the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), and the Federal Government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme and the National Primary Health Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
He said that part of the fund will be used as additional funding for health insurance for the vulnerable in the State as well as supporting eligible Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs), through the State Primary Healthcare Board, to cover operational costs expended on vaccines, medicines, commodities, infrastructure and transportation. This, he said, will go a long way in improving the quality of care that residents in the State will receive at the PHCs.
Other dignitaries at the event included the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed, the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board (PHCB) and Director, Medical Services, PHCB, Dr. Eniola Erinosho, Executive Secretary, Blood Transfusion Services, Lagos State, Dr. Bodunrin Osikomaya, Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Dr. Madewa Adebajo and Baale Okunola, High Chief Tajudeen Fashinro.