In its efforts to cater to the medical needs of the residents of the state, the Lagos State Government has revamped its primary healthcare system, segmenting them into districts, as well as providing health insurance cover for the people of the state.
For efficiency in its medical outreach to the populace, the state now has more than 300 primary health care centres (PHCs). These centres have been divided into six districts, with each of the district supervising a number of these PHCs. The Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Health District 4, Dr. Abimbola Bowale, disclosed these to THISDAY during a Health and Community Stakeholders meeting with the leaders and people of Apapa community.
Apart from the segmentation of PHC, Bowale said the state now has what he called ‘Ilera Eko’ which is the health insurance. He added that those registered on ‘Ilera Eko’, “if they go to any of our PHC or any of our General Hospitals, they are treated for free because they’re registered.
“ So, health insurance is something the state government is also promoting to enable the people have quality health care,” he said.
He added that the meeting was to sensitise the people of his district on what the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is doing in the health sector as well as create the awareness that the PHCs are the first place to go if they’re ill, and also to get the feedback from the people on how the PHCs should be run.
According to the permanent secretary, “During the first tenure of the Governor Sanwo-Olu, his policies were based on the ‘THEMES’ agenda which include the ‘health and environment’. Our environment affects our health; the focus was on health and the environment. But the agenda now is ‘THEMES PLUS’. The ‘plus’ means an inclusive government where everybody is not left behind.
“In Lagos State alone, we have more 300 primary health care centres. These centres have been divided into six; each of this district supervising a number of these health centres. So, we have six permanent secretaries, and I’m in district 4 which covers four local government areas namely: Apapa LGA and the LCDAs; Surulere LGA and the LCDAs; Mainland LGA and the LCDAs, and Lagos Island LGA and the LCDAs.”
He added: “The purpose of the formation of the district is to revamp the primary health care centres to become the first port of call when people are sick. Virtually every ward in Lagos has a primary health care centre. They do immunisation, child welfare, ante-natal and delivery for pregnant women. They also treat minor ailment as well as health education, promotion and screening.
“By revamping the primary health care centres, the government wants to bring health care closer to the people, so that five minutes or a bus stop from your house you are able to access one of the these centres.
“We also what to know the people want to see in the PHCs? This is a means of feedback which is a wonderful thing. Since we have started this programme in Apapa LGA, the next place is Surulere and other remaining LGAs.”
Bowale also urged the participants of the programme, including the youths group, the market women, the NURTW, the religious leaders, the Baales, the Obas as well as the social workers to take the awareness to every nook and cranny of their communities.
He said: “The Yoruba people would say ‘Ilera loro’, meaning health is wealth. A healthy population will be a wealthy population. So, the state government care about their health and that is why the PHCs are being revamped so that the people could access quality health care.”
In her remark, the host, the Chairman of Apapa LGA, Mrs. Idowu Shebanjo, said the sensitisation programme was very vital to the wellbeing of the people as it would expose them know more about the PHCs and the facilities they offer to ensure they are healthy, to let them know of the different insurance cover made available by the state government.
Shebanjo said: “The state government is insisting that everybody must have health insurance which is cheaper for everybody when they are ill. A family of five can get insurance cover up to N40,000 per annum, that is cheaper than going to the hospital anytime the children are ill, and in one hospital attendance, one would spend more than N40,000.
While urging the people to always keep their environment clean, eat healthy and stay healthy, she said the awareness was very necessary especially for the low income earner, adding that they should go to the hospital for regular checkups in order to detect illnesses like cancer and HIV on time and commence treatment.