At least 230,000 indigent and vulnerable residents of Lagos State are currently benefitting from free health insurance coverage sponsored by the state government through the Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA).
The beneficiaries include those at the elderly and orphanage homes, vulnerable persons living with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, sickle cell anaemia, and victims of domestic and sexual violence spread across the 57 local government and local council development areas.
At the media launch of EkoSHA, held at the Providence Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that EkoSHA is an alliance of private institutions, public institutions, development and multilateral partners and individuals seeking the good of all residents of Lagos.
EkoSHA is an initiative of the state government coordinated through the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA).
Abayomi said: “The initiative is designed to mobilise adequate funds to help the identified vulnerable residents of Lagos State to access health insurance through the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan under the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS). EkoSHA will also provide access to social welfare empowerment programmes so that beneficiaries do not only have health insurance but are provided opportunity and support that will gradually lift them out of poverty”.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Director of Medical Administration, Training and Programmes in the Ministry of Health, Dr Funmilayo Shokunbi further explained that the alliance, in addition to mobilising more funds to help the identified vulnerable residents access health insurance, would also collaborate with different departments and agencies engaged in social welfare empowerment and poverty alleviation programs so that beneficiaries do not only have health insurance but are provided with an opportunity to enhance their ability to attain sustainable livelihood.
Abayomi noted that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu graciously approved one per cent of the state’s Consolidated Revenue Fund as an equity fund to pay for residents who cannot afford to pay for health insurance for themselves in order to ensure that the state residents, including its vulnerable population, have access to the state health scheme.
The Commissioner disclosed that since the commencement of access to care for the vulnerable residents on the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan in 2020, N750 million has been disbursed as equity fund in addition to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF), and sponsorships from a few individuals and organisations to provide health insurance for the vulnerable residents of the state.
While noting that the media launch was intended to raise the level of public awareness for the EkoSHA initiative to stir up a positive reaction in the minds and hearts of well-meaning Lagosians and Nigerians to raise funds to pay for the health insurance coverage of millions of vulnerable residents of the state, Abayomi called on philanthropists, well-meaning people and organisations to key into the alliance and contribute their quota in their various capacity.