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Lagos Govt. targets over 1M Nigerians abroad through new health insurance plan

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Government through its Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has unveiled a new social health insurance plan to assist over one million Nigerians in living abroad that desired to provide health insurance coverage for their family members and loved ones residing in the state.

The new social health insurance plan, Ilera Eko diaspora plan, is geared towards increasing access to qualitative and efficient healthcare service delivery as well a further push the drive towards attaining universal health coverage for Lagos.

Under Ilera Eko diaspora plan, Nigerians residing abroad would have the window of subscribing to a pocket friendly cost plan without having to pay whenever their loved ones required medical care using facilities accredited by LASHMA across the state.

Unveiling the plan at an event held in Victoria Island axis of Lagos, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, explained that the new plan was designed to give Nigerians living abroad opportunity of caring for their parents and loved ones without leaving where they were to facilitate such services.

Abayomi explained that the new Ilera Eko plan and other existing platforms under the Lagos Health Scheme were strategic response in ensuring that the megacity plays it part well towards achieving affordable and quality healthcare for all residents irrespective of the population.
“The continuous drive by LASHMA to provide more innovative products plan as means of widening residents access to health insurance cover and uptake is imperative. Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health will provide every support needed by LASHMA in order to ensure that all residents are covered under the Ilera-Eko Social Health Insurance plans”.

While urging residents to come on board and subscribe to various plans under the scheme, the commissioner stressed that the plans remain the most convenient avenues to prevent frequent funding of either ones healthcare and that of his loved ones.

“The lunch of the new Ilera Eko Diaspora Health Plan is the first of its kind in Nigeria and is expected to deepen and widen access to affordable and quality care through a new gateway of opportunities for Nigerians dependent on relatives living in the diaspora for their health expenditure”
Arguing that the new plan brings globalization to the social health insurance space in Nigeria, Abayomi said: “The launch of the new Diaspora Health Plan is apt and supports the Health and environment mandate of the present administration. Lagos state Government continues to support and encourage LASHMA in the delivery of the dividend of democracy, improve lives and prevent catastrophic health spendings for lagos residents”.

Earlier, the Senior Special Assistance to the governor on Diaspora and Foreign Relations, Jermaine Sanwo-Olu, explained that the new plan was put together after thorough review of the complaints often expressed by Nigerians living abroad who were often called to fund medical bills of their parents and loved ones residing in the state.

Sanwo-Olu noted that with the diaspora plan, they would only be required to pay once and all their loved ones medical care would be taken up through the agency, LASHMA.

He disclosed that his office would be leveraging on the already existing networks to engage Nigerians living outside shores of the country to understand that their yearnings had been resolved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

According to him, it saves Nigerians living abroad to save lives of their beneficiaries and money. This is because with a premium as pocket friendly as $6, they could cover their beneficiaries in Lagos rather than the system before where they have to send money for different ailments.

“But with one plan under the diaspora, they could give their loved ones the best possible care within the state. This is transformative. And it is the first in sub-saharan Africa.

Earlier in her remarks, General Manager, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, explained that subscribers through third-party financing and management system, would be guaranteed of getting their loved ones the healthcare services they desired at any of the ILERAEKO accredited private and public hospitals in Lagos.
She added that the diaspora plan and others gives protection from the financial hardship of huge medical bills, maintenance of high standard of healthcare delivery services and greater value for money  spent.
According to her, the benefit package covers teleconsultation, telemonitoring, counselling, advice and prescription for medication, general consultation and health education on various illnesses including HIV, Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Tuberculosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Other benefit package are, access to specialist care including general surgeons, paediatrician, gynaecologist, physician, Orthopaedics and Outpatient care for common ailments like Malaria and other acute uncomplicated febrile illnesses, Diarrhoeal diseases, Acute respiratory tract infections, uncomplicated pneumonia, simple anaemia, simple skin diseases ans other uncomplicated bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections and illnesses.
 “The plan also covers follow-up treatment of chronic illnesses like Hypertension, Diabetes mellitus, Sickle cell and Asthma as well as first Aid for Dog bites, Snakebites, Scorpion stings, Arthritis, and other minor musculoskeletal diseases”, she added.
Zamba noted that care for childhood illnesses, eye care, family planning services, child welfare services, hospital care admission, pharmaceutical care, blood transfusion, chronic disease and HIV/AIDS services, tuberculosis services, haematology, clinical chemistry, diagnostic radiological investigations, ultrasound test, maternal and newborn care, dental care, emergency services including renal dialysis and surgeries are also covered under the plan.

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