The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has stated that the launch of the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme will make his work easy if elected governor of the state in February 2019.
He said the health interventions tackled through the scheme will be a front burner in his campaigns going forward, and when he eventually assumes the position of governor.
Speaking at the launch of the scheme in Lagos yesterday, he said this represents another first for Governor Akinwumi Ambode, whom he described as a man of many firsts and innovations.
He said: “I am very excited about this launch because I am going to be its biggest beneficiary. It will make my work much easy as governor. We will work with the players of this scheme to drive it when we come on board, because we are going to be running an all inclusive government.
“Once Lagos gets it right on universal health coverage Africa gets it right, and this a step towards getting it right in the areas of human capital, including healthcare,” he said.
He however, said he understands the enormity of work required to making the scheme successful, hence his resolve to provide all necessary support to the team.
“This will not only be a front burner during our campaigns; it will be very dear to us as a government, God willing,” he said.
Ambode, on his part said the goal of the scheme was to ensure all Lagos residents have unfettered access to quality healthcare without necessarily paying out of pocket.
He said the scheme puts into consideration poor and indigent residents of the state hence the decision to have an equity fund, which is one per cent of the consolidated revenue fund in the 2018 state budget.
“This equity fund will take care of the poor and indigent, such that they are entitled to the pool of funds, and can access same quality care like every other resident.
“When agents come to your door steps, I enjoin every Lagosian to give them the needed support so that we can register all residents into this scheme.”
While stating that he was glad the scheme has come to stay, he said the APC governorship candidate, Sanwo Olu has promised to continue with the scheme when he becomes the governor.
On his part, the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, said the planning started since 1999 during the time of Ahmed Tinubu as the state governor.
“We wanted to get it right the first time; that is why it took this long.”
“It is a mandatory scheme that will have both public and private providers offer healthcare services to those enrolled in the scheme.”
Representative of the World Bank Group at the launch, Dr. Olumide Okunola, said Nigeria ranks low on human capital development, but that through this launch, Lagos has moved a step further in addressing it.
“We know when Lagos gets it right Africa gets it right. So World Bank will continue to support the state to ensure this scheme delivers to residents of Lagos universal health coverage,” he said.