… Launches Rape Fund For Victims of Sexual Violence
… As Lagos Targets 3million Enrollees For Health Scheme in Y2021  

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

The wife of the Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, who disclosed this on Thursday at the celebration of the Year 2020 Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC) Day organised by the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), said the development was in furtherance of the commitment of the government to expanding access to healthcare delivery, especially for the less-privileged.

Speaking at the programme held at Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, the First Lady, represented by a former Permanent Secretary in the State, Dr. Bola Balogun, said the decision became imperative because the government recognised that not everyone can afford to pay 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”, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu said.

She reiterated that the UHC Day is celebrated annually as the rallying point for the growing global movement for Health for All, and 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”, the First Lady described it as apt and timely, coming at a time the world is still grappling with sordid realities of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, and the need to ensure that deliberate policies are put in place to safeguard the health of all citizens.

The First Lady revealed that plans are also afoot for the provision of a Sexual Violence Intervention Fund for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

She said with a higher incidence amongst the less privileged, the physical trauma is further complicated by the difficulty of paying for healthcare services; therefore, in line with the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team’s (DSVRT) recommendations, some medical services would be rendered as part of post-assault care.

Explaining the modalities, Dr. Sanwo-Olu said, “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”.

“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 in the LSHS (as family or individual plan) to provide additional support for a possible consequence that may occur like pregnancy for 12 months”, she added.

On his part, Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi said in view of the need to expand access, the government is finalising the crowdfunding initiative supported by all LASHMA partners, and that it would be launched early next year.

He said virtual clinics would also be established as standalone units, while Telemedicine Units will 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-month 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.

In her remarks, the LASHMA Chairman, Dr. Ade Alakija said COVID-19 had underscored the need for universal health coverage, saying the pandemic clearly showed that a threat to one would eventually prove to be a threat to all, and “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.”

Ayomide Oyewole

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