The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has presented Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA), a health insurance and endowment fund for vulnerable and disadvantaged Lagosians.
The government said the initiative comes on the heels of the success of its various health insurance plans, including Ilera Eko and EKOTELEMED, a telemedicine service.
Speaking during the media launch of the scheme on Wednesday at Providence Hotel in Ikeja, the Commissioner for Health in the state, Akin Abayomi, who was represented by the Director of Medical Administration, Training and Programs, Funmilayo Shokunbi, explained that EkoSHA is a public and private partnership.
Ms Shokunbi added that development and multilateral partners and individuals seeking the good of residents of Lagos also make up the partnership.
She said a N750 million equity funds as insurance coverage for no fewer than. 230,000 indigent and vulnerable residents of Lagos State were ongoing.
Additionally, she revealed that the elderly, orphanage homes, vulnerable persons living with HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Sickle Cell Anaemia, and victims of domestic and sexual violence in Lagos would have access to the health plan.
“The initiative is designed to mobilise adequate funds to help the identified vulnerable residents of Lagos state access health insurance through the Ultra Eko Social Health Plan under the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS),” she said.
The commissioner also stated that in a bid not to keep benefactors solely dependent on the initiative, the government would partner with social welfare institutions through EkoSHA to alleviate their finances.
He said: “EkoSHA will also provide access to social welfare empowerment programs so that beneficiaries not only have health insurance but are provided opportunity and support that will gradually lift them out of poverty”.
The General Manager of Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Emmanuella Zamba, explained that despite the state having a high percentage of people living below the poverty line, the state government is committed to ensuring every resident has access to quality healthcare.
She said it will ensure equal opportunity is given to those who cannot afford the ILERA Eko premium, in line with section 20 of the LSHS law.
“The law indicates that the agency should ensure the availability of alternative funding sources to the health sector for improved services.
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“The agency established Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA) which is the resource mobilisation of the agency to care for health insurance premiums of the vulnerable and indigents in our midst.”
She explained that their target included providing for vulnerable persons with particular health conditions and has taken a step with the rapid poverty assessment tool to help determine the index.
Ms Zamba explained that a 10-member committee, including Njide Ndili, Olufemi Orawusi and The Sterling Foundation, conceived the EkoSHA initiative.
She reiterated that the Initiative was not limited to the Yoruba residents of Lagos and urged the public to key into it.
“Let me add that our door is open for more collaborations from everyone who has the interest of the vulnerable and indigent people at heart”. She said.
Also in attendance at the event were beneficiaries of the initiative who shared their gratitude for the treatment they got.
Oluwatobi Aro said that three weeks ago, her baby was operated on for Hernia and the initiative covered the payment.
Jacob Zinzu also expressed gratitude, stating his wife delivered a set of twins safely, and the state health insurance plans footed the bills.
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