Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu in his determination to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC), equity and access to quality healthcare irrespective of the residents’ socio-economic status, has presented free health insurance to the vulnerable in Ijede LCDA.

The General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, speaking at the flag-off of EKO Social Health Alliance (EKOSHA) Community Storm organised by the Agency in Ijede LCDA, commended Mr. Governor for his unwavering and continuous support, especially in providing special funds for the actualisation of free health insurance coverage for the vulnerable in the State through EKOSHA in accordance with the provisions of the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) Law.

She explained that EKOSHA is an initiative designed by the agency to provide a sustainable structure for the implementation of ILERA EKO free health plans for the vulnerable and indigent in the State.

Zamba said that the provision of free health insurance coverage for the needy through EKOSHA is an integral part of the agency’s strategies to attain Universal Health Coverage in the State, adding that the provision aligns with the new National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) which makes health insurance mandatory in Nigeria.

She pledged that EKOSHA will be at the forefront of championing the inclusiveness of the vulnerable and preventing the de-enfranchising residents at the grassroots from accessing quality and affordable healthcare.

The General Manager pledged that EKOSHA will collaborate with all the grassroots structures through the Local Government and Local Council Development Areas to ensure its presence in the communities.

She said that 30 EKOSHA field officers, who will liaise with the community structures to identify vulnerable residents within the communities and facilitate their onboarding process using the Equity Fund from the Lagos State Government and the Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHCPF) from the Federal Government, have been engaged.

She said that EKOSHA is also at the forefront of partnering with the private sector for resource mobilisation and economic empowerment of the vulnerable in order to take them to a higher economic class. She added that 1,000 Point of Sales (POS) system would be distributed to the vulnerable in Ijede LCDA courtesy of First City Monument Bank in order to make them financially independent and uplift their economic status.

Dr. Zamba applauded the support of the Ministry of Health, Lagos State Blood Transfusion Service for the conduct of Hepatitis B and C tests as well as blood group tests for the community members.

She also thanked the people behind ‘Jigi Bola’ for also conducting eye tests and giving out glasses to residents who deserved them as well as Local Health System Sustainability (LHSS) for the payment of the salaries of the 30 EKOSHA Field Officers.

The Chairman of Ijede LCDA, Hon. Motunrayo Gbadebo-Alogba, represented by the Vice-Chairman, Hon. Abdulaziz Femi Kabir, also applauded Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the General Manager of LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba for the laudable gesture at the flag-off of EKOSHA Community Storm at Ijede LCDA.

She said that there is no doubt that the programme will be of great benefit to the vulnerable and also improve the healthy living of the people within the community, urging those enrolled to utilise the opportunity wisely and visit the hospital whenever they are unwell.

A Board Member of LASHMA, Dr. Tunji Akintade, reminded the gathering that four years ago, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu rolled out his T.H.E.M.E.S Agenda which makes Health as the second pillar of the Agenda.

He said that in order to reduce out-of-pocket payment of medical bills, prevent financial catastrophic health and have peace of mind, the Lagos State Government introduced ILERA EKO Health plans for all the residents of the State and even set aside one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the enrolment of the vulnerable who cannot afford to pay their health insurance premiums.

Dr. Akintade appealed to well-meaning leaders and members of the community to partner with EKOSHA to ensure access to quality healthcare services for the vulnerable by either contributing funds on behalf of the groups, families and individuals in need and also empowering the vulnerable.

Dignitaries at the event included the Regent of Ijede, Chief Aliyu Musediq; High Chiefs and Baales; Baba Oba of Egbin, Mr. Jamiu Adisa Quadri; Council Supervisors; Representative of the CDC Chairman, Ijede LCDA, Engr. Mrs. Christianah Kaka and Medical Officer for Health, Ijede PHC, Dr. Saheed Tajudeen among others.

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