Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest rate of maternal mortality globally1. The major factor that has attributed to this high rate of maternal mortality is poverty2, which has continually worsened by the increased cost of commodities and healthcare costs in the country3. Financial expenses incurred during pregnancy have therefore become a major concern to many families in Nigeria, which is justifiable. Quality maternal care comes at a cost, from antenatal care to the cost of skilled birth delivery and postnatal care. In a survey by Nigeria Health Watch, 21% of women surveyed in Lagos State observed that poverty is a major source of worry during childbirth4. It prevents them from seeking quality healthcare during delivery. The World Health Organization highlighted poverty as one of the main factors that prevent women from seeking care during and after childbirth5.
An effective means of tackling the effect of poverty on quality maternal care is by eliminating out of pocket payment, i.e. payment at the point of care. The Lagos State Government has made a provision for the elimination of out-of-pocket payments through Ilera Eko. Ilera Eko, also known as Lagos State Health Scheme, is a state health insurance scheme by the Lagos State Government. The scheme aims to ensure that all residents of Lagos state can access the healthcare they need without suffering any financial hardship.
Services in the benefits package of Ilera Eko covers the entire spectrum of maternal care: antenatal services, delivery and postnatal services. The benefits package covers blood tests, scans and drugs for antenatal care, vaginal delivery and elective or emergency caesarean sessions, and delivery complications like post-partum haemorrhage. It also covers family planning services to enable mothers to space their children well for optimum maternal and child health.
About 1000 pregnant enrollees have assessed antenatal and delivery services on the scheme in both private and public facilities across local government areas of the state since 2021 began.
Here are some testimonials from enrollees.
I am an advocate of the Ilera Eko program because of my wife’s experience during pregnancy. On Sunday, 2nd of May 2021, she delivered a bouncing baby at County Hospital, Ogba. She was well taken care of throughout her pregnancy and during delivery – Anonymous.
Initially, my wife and I were very reluctant in enrolling for the Lagos State Health Scheme; due to past disappointments, we don’t believe in many government projects. It took the assurance of a neighbour to convince me. When my wife was pregnant, we found the scheme to be true. Her antenatal visits and delivery by caesarean section were all covered. I want to encourage other sceptical persons to give the scheme a trial, and I can bet they will not be disappointed. – Mr Ademiluyi
You can get started by enrolling here.
- WHO https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/maternal-health-nigeria/en/
- Izugbara and Ngilangwa. Women, poverty and adverse maternal outcomes in Nairobi, Kenya https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6874-10-33
- Nairametrics. Healthcare cost gallop past 15%, highest on record https://nairametrics.com/2021/06/17/nigerias-healthcare-cost-gallop-past-15-highest-on-record/
- Nigeria Health Watch. Giving Birth In Nigeria Project. https://nigeriahealthwatch.com/why-are-women-dying-while-giving-birth-in-nigeria-recommendations-for-improved-outcomes/
- World Health Organization. Maternal Mortality Fact Sheet. Accessed at:https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/maternal-mortality