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X-raying Ilera Eko

Published by The Nation on Thu, 01 Apr 2021


The Ilera Eko health insurance scheme introduced by the Lagos State government promises to cater for the health needs of everybody, writes OYEBOLA OWOLABILagos residents can now rest assured that their hopes of getting expert and adequate medical attention will be met. This is because the governments newly introduced Ilera Eko health insurance scheme is a promise that no one will be left behind.The scheme comprises the individual and family bouquets. With N8,500 annually, anyone can subscribe to the individual package while the family package goes for N40,000.Though the health scheme was officially launched at the LTV Blueroof in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, people are already benefitting from it, and they have beautiful testimonies to give.Victor Oluranti Odebode, 72-year-old cleric, is a subscriber to the individual bouquet. He underwent a major surgery he could not have sponsored out of his pocket. He, however, didnt have to bother about money because his premium was able to cover payment for the procedure.He said: I was introduced to the scheme by a staff of the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) three years ago. I didnt listen to him at first because I found it difficult to produce the N8,500 that was required. But when I could afford it, I gave him the money and he registered me.I chose the hospital of my own interest and since going for the procedure, I have been taking treatment, getting consultations and medications. I felt alright. I have also continued by renewing my bouquet.Only those living can serve the Lord. I urge people to take advantage of this insurance scheme to benefit themselves and their family. Our body daily deteriorates, all the functions weaken, but when we have supplements, it keeps us moving.However, I urge the agency to increase benefits in the package to about 90 per cent for the vulnerable and senior citizens.Adeniyi Oyeyemi subscribed to the family bouquet and is grateful for the opportunity.This scheme is very helpful. I started using the scheme in March 2020. I was sceptical and reluctant at first because most people believe that anything coming from the government is inferior. But when I saw the benefits in the package, and hospitals on their list, I believed it was not a childs play and joined. I also liked the fact that I get to choose the hospital of my liking, and one of the best hospitals in my area is on the list.Since I started using this scheme, I have not regretted it. It has been helpful. I renewed my policy on March 16 so I can continue to enjoy the package.According to the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the scheme was launched to give the poorest of the poor access to basic healthcare.Everyone deserves to live a healthy life. No one should be left behind in the move for better healthcare.We are very particular in Lagos as we have the financial model that can provide health for those living close to the poverty line so we dont push people to the point where sickness can cripple their livelihood and affect their opportunities to generate economic well-being here.The health scheme is designed to provide a good spectrum of healthcare delivery services to all Lagosians, but particularly to protect the vulnerable. A lot of people spend out of pocket during illnesses, which can drive the family deeper into poverty. As a result of this, the government has provided the equity fund which is one per cent of our consolidated revenue. This money would provide health and support a health safety net to people who are unable to afford the premium.It has been designed to be as low as possible, and it provides a significant number of services to Lagosians, such as birth control, maintenance of high blood pressure, diabetes, vaccination, and general ailments that affect most people.About 40,000 persons currently enjoy the insurance scheme free, but Abayomi said the number is still low, and so the government has come up with other avenues to ensure people are not left behind.He said: We are providing up to 40,000 Lagosians with a free health insurance scheme at the moment, but this is not enough. We have a long way to go because, according to the bureau of statistics, up to 40 per cent of Lagosians will struggle to pay the premium even as low as it is. So we are reassuring Lagosians that the government is not oblivious to the fact many cannot afford the insurance now, and we are making provisions, both from the budget and several other ways, to raise funds for them.One of such ways is theIlera Eko Crowd Fundingwhere we are looking to those who are better off to support those who need help. The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) is trying to encourage Lagosians to be each others keepers. If you are well off enough, you can provide funding for people in the community who cannot afford the premium and insurance.Another way is for people to pay in instalmentsdaily, weekly or monthlyuntil it adds up for the year.This is providing health through insurance, but the other side of the coin is to ensure our facilities are well equipped, filled with skilled resourceful workers, has drugs, electricity, and has comfortable treatment spaces. So while we are promoting health insurance on one side, we are also ensuring that service providers in the scheme, whether public or private, meet standards that are comparable to anywhere in the world, Abayomi said.The wife of the governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, described the health campaign as symbolic of the Greater Lagos journey. She urged the people to sign up for the scheme, saying it is in the collective interest of the state, and the wellbeing of the people, for all to join the train.According to her, the insurance scheme aptly signifies the administrations commitment to promoting human rights to health and a resilient healthcare network.She said: The scheme, which is administered by LASHMA, is to ensure Lagosians have access to the needed healthcare without suffering financial hardship; close the gap between the demand for health spending and available public resources and reduce the prolonged reliance on out-of-pocket spendingThe evolution of this scheme identifies with the global clarion call to inclusive health make-up, termed Universal Health Coverage. This was conceptualised to close glaring coverage gaps and meet the health targets agreed under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).As we embark on this path to Universal Health Coverage, Ilera Eko is passionately calling us to take responsibility for our health. We are determined to leave no one behind.All residents, regardless of socio-economic and ethnoreligious identity, including the vulnerable, are encouraged to make the right choices by signing up for this scheme because our lives, livelihoods and futures depend on it.Packages in the scheme are individual (N8,500 for one year) and family (N40,000 for one year). Subscribers would have to renew yearly.Services covered under the scheme include outpatient care for common ailments and conditions; maternal, new-born and child care, including the caesarean section where necessary; access to family planning counselling and services; management of uncomplicated chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, among others; access to HIV and TB testing services; minor surgeries such as incision drainage, herniorrhaphy, appendectomy; and health promotion and diseases prevention.
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