Lagos Takes up Medical Bills of Pregnant Women, Patients

Sanwo Olu

Segun James in Lagos

The Lagos State Government yesterday said it would take up the medical bills of pregnant women and patients admitted into any of its secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities statewide as part of measures to cushion the effects of a 14-day lockdown the federal government imposed on the state.

Apart from the new palliatives, the state government equally acknowledged that pockets of irregularities were observed in the implementation of social intervention programmes he recently rolled out to ensure that its residents duly observe the stay-at-home directive.

The state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu reeled out the new palliatives yesterday at a news conference he addressed after the State Security Council meeting held at the State House, Marina.

For the period the lockdown will last, Sanwo-Olu explained that the state government would offset the medical bills of any patient admitted into the state-owned secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities.

He said the new palliative scheme “will cover the medical equipment expenses of pregnant women on maternity delivery and other categories of patients in emergency, casualty cases, laboratory testing and surgeries.

“The cost of any medication bought at the secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities will be borne by the government during the period of lockdown.

“The move is to ameliorate the difficulties that may be experienced by those whose wellbeing may have been affected by the ongoing restrictions initiated to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the state,” the governor disclosed at the briefing.

Sanwo-Olu said measures had been put in place to ensure the scheme was not compromised, adding that the palliative would make great impact on those in need of medical attention in the period of lockdown.

He noted that the state government would, for the duration of the restriction on movement, take full responsibility for the medical bills of all patients who fall in the following categories at all healthcare facilities.

He revealed that the first category “are patients in emergency, casualty cases, including registration, laboratory tests, surgeries, and drugs. Those in the second category are maternity cases. We will bear the full cost of pregnant women on normal delivery and Caesarean sections in our hospitals in this period of lockdown.

“What this new scheme means is that, at this time, patients with the listed medical conditions will not need to pay to access treatment and care in all our 27 General Hospitals across the State.”

The governor said the state had started to review the process of distribution of food relief package, which was introduced at the beginning of the restriction, admitting that the programme had made positive difference in the lives of the intended beneficiaries.

He, however, pointed out that there was ongoing appraisal of the social intervention programme, which he said, was necessitated by pockets of irregularities observed in its implementation.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the restrictive measures had started to pay off, stressing that lockdown had afforded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to keep up and make appropriate progress in tracing of contacts.

“The restrictions have started paying off. The Nigeria Center for Disease Control has told us that they have been able to take advantage of the absence of traffic on our roads to make appreciable progress in their contact tracing,” the governor said.

He said all patients in the state’s isolation centres were doing well and recovering faster despite the surge in Covid-19 case in Lagos. A patient, Sanwo-Olu said, was discharged on Saturday afternoon, making it 24 COVID-19 patients treated and released by the state.

He, also, said the state government would not compromise security of residents’ lives and property, warning hoodlums who may want to take advantage of the ongoing restriction of movement to rob to back off.

He, thus, ordered 24-hour security surveillance across residential areas and asked the police to dislodge hoodlums in various spots across the state.
He also said more measures would be introduced to ensure the lockdown remains effective.

On the extension of the lockdown, he said: “We are in the period of national emergency and the ongoing restriction was declared by the federal government. If there’s need for an extension, the federal authorities will decide that based on the outcome of the ongoing measures.”