By Chioma Umeha
Following the growing cost of medical care with out-of-pocket payments, the Lagos State Government has today commenced free medical mission to provide free healthcare services to residents of Lagos across the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, who said this on Monday at a news conference in Alausa, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria said that the free
healthcare, under the Lagos State Medical Mission, would commence on March 1 and end on June 8, 2017.
Idris said the programme over the years had helped to complement health service
delivery in the state, aside helping government to take healthcare to the grassroots and undeserved areas of Lagos State, by addressing pressing health
issues of the rural communities in the state.
The State Health boss said: “These medical missions are significant because it will enable this administration to provide healthcare services to all who come irrespective of their age, gender, socio-economic status and affiliations.”
The commissioner added that the medical teams providing these services were competent professionals committed to ensuring that the mandate of the state government was fully realised.
Idris stated that the vision of sustainable healthcare and universal coverage demanded that the state adopted an approach that was not only efficient, but also effective in addressing the growing health demand of Lagos megacity.
He said: “With a teeming population of over 22 million residents, the healthcare demands of this urban population are growing at an exponential rate, and as the cost of care with out-of-pocket payments are also increasing, the economic burden on our citizens are becoming more unbearable by the day. This cannot be allowed to continue.
“With the current economic downturn, the free health policy of the state has become inefficient to addressing these issues. Lagos residents will require a safety net to be in place to improve the health outcome of all residents, especially the most vulnerable in the society, as well as significantly reduce out-of-pocket payment that persists in Nigeria.
“Hence, it has become imperative that we provide adequate financial protection for our citizens through the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme. This health insurance scheme will take off this year and will be made mandatory for all residents of the state.”
Idris said the state government was working tirelessly to ensure that all citizens had healthcare coverage and that this was one of the current strategies designed to address this.”