Sanwo-Olu Urges Health Insurance Stakeholders to Partner with Lagos on Domestication of the Nhia Act

… Chairs Maiden Lagos Health Insurance Summit

Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged critical stakeholders in the State health insurance value chain, including Health Management Organizations (HMOs), Health Care Providers, Corporate Organizations, Health Insurance Coverage Providers, policymakers and employers of labour and employees to support, partner and corporate with the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to domesticate the National Health Insurance Authority Act of May, 2022 and also ensure compliance with the provision of the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) Law.

Sanwo-Olu, who stated this today at the maiden Lagos State Health Insurance Summit held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, noted that the support of all stakeholders will help enable the State Government to guarantee the provision of basic healthcare services to citizens thereby improving their quality of life.

“At the inception of this administration, we made a commitment to improve the quality of life of our people and steer the State towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), where Lagosians will have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.
“These services include a full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. This is one of the major goals of the health and environment pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda, with the ‘Plus’ representing the incorporation of an intensified focus on social inclusion, gender equality and youth development in the next four years”, he said.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, explained that his administration rode on the existing LSHS Law to bring the promise of UHC to reality. He added that the law makes it mandatory for all residents of Lagos to possess a health plan in order to have access to quality healthcare services thereby reducing out-of-pocket expenses on health and ameliorating the financial hardship caused by payment of huge medical bills.

The Governor, who also officially unveiled the Ilera-Eko virtual booth at the summit, disclosed that his administration is implementing strategies geared towards digital healthcare coverage so that health services can be accessed remotely.
Sanwo-Olu explained further that the Ilera-Eko virtual booth is an initiative created by LASHMA in partnership with Sterling Bank to provide easy access to healthcare services in the State by strategically locating 300 kiosks across the State.

He noted that the 300 kiosks would be strategically placed in fixed locations within local government areas across Lagos State and manned by community health workers or registered nurses and mapped to a healthcare provider in case of emergencies, adding that virtual access to doctors would be provided using telemedicine while prescription would be taken to the nearest community pharmacy where medication will be dispensed.

The Governor explained that his administration recognizes that a sizable proportion of residents of the State may not be able to afford the LSHS plan, which is why the State Government has committed a minimum of one percent of the consolidated revenue fund as equity fund to the Lagos State Health Fund (LASHEF) to provide coverage for vulnerable groups to purchase the Ilera-Eko plan on their behalf.

Earlier, the First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu who was represented by Mrs. Olayemi Oke-Osanyintolu, expressed optimism that the maiden Health Insurance Summit will spur ideas and strategies that will help seamless access to quality healthcare services for citizens.

In her words: “As a Medical professional and an advocate for quality healthcare service delivery, I am convinced that this forum will further spur various ideas and strategies poised at providing residents with access to needed health services, including prevention, promotion, treatment and rehabilitation of sufficient quality and ensuring the users are not exposed to financial hardship”.

The newly appointed Chairman of the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) Governing Board, Dr. Adebayo Adedewe noted that the establishment of the Lagos State Health Scheme is a step in the right direction and an ideal model to ensure that Lagosians have access to quality and affordable healthcare services.

Adedewe expressed his delight to be present at the maiden Lagos State Health Insurance Summit, which he said is the first of its kind in Nigeria as his first official assignment as the Chairman of LASHMA. He pledged his commitment to the goals and objectives of the Agency.

Earlier in her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba stated that the maiden edition of the Lagos State Health Insurance Summit will serve as a critical platform for exchanging ideas and fostering innovation towards achieving universal healthcare coverage in the state.

Dr. Zamba explained further that the agency over the last three years has worked tirelessly in creating structures and operationalization the social health plan implementation as part of strategies geared towards the achievement of Universal healthcare coverage, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in healthcare infrastructures and the pressing need for robust health insurance scheme.

While appreciating the effort of the organising committee for the successful organisation of the Maiden Health Insurance Summit, Zamba noted that the implementation of a social health insurance programme is not to repress the private health insurance space but to complement each other in the attainment of universal healthcare coverage.