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Lagos Govt. to setup health insurance dedicated radio station, others

...enrolls over 1M Lagosians, engages 322 community pharmacies

Concerned by the need to assist Lagosians prepare ahead for unforeseen ailment and affordable healthcare services, the State Government has indicated plans to setup a dedicated radio station that educates residents on benefits of enrolling on its health insurance scheme in the state.

It said that the station would be structured to constantly engage Lagosians and Nigerians abroad, explaining benefits that were encapsulated in the insurance packages handled by the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA).

The government added that this initiative would assist more Lagosians make right choice on health insurance and join the over one million (1,027, 147) residents that have enrolled in the state.

The Permanent Secretary, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, disclosed this during an interview with The Guild on efforts made by the agency to assist Lagosians get affordable healthcare services under the Ilera Eko scheme in the state.

Zamba noted that health insurance is still alien to Nigerians, saying Many Nigerians do not see reason to pay ahead for better healthcare, rather we all believe that we could only pay when the need arise.

She stressed that there is need for more engagement and advocacy to change Lagosians orientation on health insurance, in order to embrace the scheme without delay.

“Public awareness on health insurance is very important. Many Nigerians do not understand the need to pay ahead for better healthcare.

“We need to educate the people better on the benefits of health insurance. And for them to key into it, such step requires that we constantly engage them and explain benefits that were in it to them.

“We feel that the programme we have on different radio stations are not enough to educate Lagosians on health insurance benefits especially when it requires that both LASHMA officials and prospective enrollee discuss on the insurance benefits.

“So, since the mandate is to get the entire Lagosians to enroll, we believe that there is need for us to partner the Ministry of Information and strategy to set it up and Lagosians can call in and get their desired feedback on the scheme”.

Aside from that, she disclosed that the State Government has engaged no fewer than 322 community pharmacies, to ensure constant availability of drugs for beneficiaries.

“During monitoring, we discovered that some of the facilities had insufficient drugs. Due to this, the patients were often asked to either come another day or buy the drugs from community pharmacies. This is something that we frowned at and to address this, we brought in community pharmacies because they are spread across the state. We have brought onboard about 322 of them. And they are spread across the state.

“This is to ensure that whenever they go to the hospitals, when they announced that the drugs prescribed by the doctor are out of stock, the enrollee can walk into any community pharmacies closer to the location and get the drugs. The pharmacy will give you the drugs free while the agency pick up the bill and pay as expected. This is to ensure that they get the enrollee do not have to experience any hitch. We started in April and we are monitoring how Lagosians access the pharmacies every week. And we are working to ensure that they get value for their money.

“We understand that the drugs providers raised some issues on cost and that is why we have started reviewing the process to see how we can increase what comes to them. This is to ensure that it is a win-win situation for all. We are not here to squeeze the providers because it is a business for them. We hope that by quarter three, we will be able to rollout a new tariff. This we believe will bring some relieve to them as they provide the services which they have signed up for. We all need to understand that Ilera Eko is a journey and our desire is to ensure that all Lagosians that have signed up on it get the all that we have promised them”.

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