Sanwo-Olu approves free healthcare for 50,000 orphans, elderly, vulnerable

• Launches rape fund for victims of sexual violence

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has approved the release of funds from the equity of Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) to provide free healthcare for 50,000 orphans, elderly and the vulnerable in the state.

Wife of the governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, made this known on Thursday while speaking at the celebration of the Year 2020 Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) Day organized by the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), and held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja.

According to her, the development is in furtherance of the commitment of the state government to expand access to healthcare delivery, especially for the less-privileged.

The First Lady who was represented by a former permanent secretary in the state, Dr Bola Balogun, said the decision became imperative in view of the fact that the government recognized that not everyone can afford the premium of the LSHS.

“It is gratifying to note that Mr Governor appreciates the fact that not everyone can afford the premium, and has approved the release of funds from the Equity to provide Free Healthcare within the Lagos State Health Scheme for 50,000 Orphans, Elderly and Vulnerable,” Sanwo-Olu said.

She said the UHC Day is celebrated annually as the rallying point for the growing global movement for Health for All, adding that it was being observed in Lagos State in line with the agenda of the state government to ensure access to quality healthcare services for all residents, irrespective of their age or social status.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration: ‘Health For All: Protect Everyone,’ Sanwo-Olu said it was apt and timely, coming at a time the world was still grappling with sordid realities of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, and the need to ensure that deliberate policies were put in place to safeguard the health of all.

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Besides, she said it was also gratifying to note that in line with the global push against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, the state government was also coming up with the provision of a Sexual Violence Intervention Fund to provide immediate intervention for survivors of sexual violence.

The First Lady said with a higher incidence amongst the less privileged, the physical trauma was further complicated by the difficulty of paying for healthcare service, adding that some healthcare services would be rendered as part of post-assault care, in line with the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) recommendations.

“The LSHS covers some of the services required by survivors of sexual assault and as such enrollees can benefit from it. However, some of the services required are not covered by the scheme. For services not covered by the LSHS, the fund will cover the additional medical needs that are not covered.

“For survivors not enrolled in the LSHS, the fund will provide payment for the initial immediate medical intervention for the physical trauma including medical consultation, testing and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections, Pregnancy Test, Emergency Contraception, HIV Testing and Post Exposure Prophylaxis.

“The survivor will also be enrolled into the LSHS (as family or individual plan) to provide additional support for sequelae that may occur like pregnancy for a period of 12 months,” she stated.

The State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, in his remark, said the government, in view of the need to expand access, was finalizing the crowdfunding initiative supported by all LASHMA partners, which would be launched early next year.

According to Abayomi, virtual clinics would also be established as standalone units, while Telemedicine Units would also be set up within the Lagos Health Scheme empanelled Primary Healthcare Centres in collaboration with interested startups and NGOs.

“We would also register and enrol a target 1, 000, 000 households– which translates to approximately 3,000,000 residents in Lagos within an 18-months timeline in the LSHS.

“We also plan to deliver 500 Ilera Eko Centres through strategic private providers by December 2021 and another 500 Centres by December 2022,” he said.

Also, LASHMA Chairman, Dr Ade Alakija, said COVID-19 had underscored the need for universal health coverage, saying the pandemic had clearly shown that a threat to one would eventually prove to be a threat to all.

He said consequently quality healthcare must be made available to all now as it would be gravely unwise to continue to think of quality healthcare as a tradable commodity.

“It would be gravely unwise to continue to think of quality healthcare as a tradable commodity; on the contrary, quality healthcare must be made available to all- now,” he said.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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