Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor of Lagos State has on Tuesday, unveiled the much-anticipated health insurance scheme of the State Government.
The governor, during his address at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, said that good that the State was now on a journey to achieve affordable, comprehensive and unhindered quality healthcare services for all residents.
Ambode said the decision to come up with the initiative, which had already been backed by law enacted in May 2015 by the State House of Assembly, was inspired by the desire of government to provide access to affordable and quality healthcare services and truly bring about healthy population.
The governor noted that it was historic and heartwarming that the implementation of the policy which started three and half years ago by his administration had eventually culminated in its smooth take-off.
He added, however, that though that the task of providing health insurance for residents of the State was a tough venture, the government will do all it can to do so.
“I am delighted that we have fulfilled that promise and are gathered at this historic and momentous occasion today for the formal launch of the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme (LSHS). It is historic because it marks a distinct milestone in the State Government’s effort to ensure the sustained provision of a critical social service to our teeming Lagos population,” the Governor said.
He recalled that since the passage of the Lagos State Health Law, the Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Health Management Agency, the entity established by the law as the regulator of the scheme, had been working with several local and international technical partners to design the scheme in line with the requirements of the law and best practices driven by local needs, experiences and technological developments.
“It is a known fact that out of pocket payment for healthcare deters access to Health Services especially for indigents and other vulnerable persons in our society. This situation contributes to increased morbidity and mortality with the resultant adverse effect on the human capital development and economic prosperity of Lagos.
“To ensure that the indigent and vulnerable, who are most susceptible to the difficulties of out of pocket payments for healthcare, are enrolled into the Lagos State Health Scheme, we have set aside 1% of the State’s consolidated revenue in the 2018 budget for this purpose.”
He said by law, the health insurance scheme was mandatory for all residents, while the process of identifying and registering the beneficiaries had already commenced in a number of developing communities in the State whose residents were mostly indigent, adding that provision had also been made for all State and Local Government workers and their nuclear families to be enrolled at a subsidized rate.