The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side), Lagos State, have partnered to ensure that public servants in the State have access to equitable and quality healthcare services.
Speaking during the Health Insurance Awareness Campaign among Union Leaders in the Lagos State Public Service themed: “Health Insurance, Talk the Work, Walk the Talk”, held at Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said that the awareness campaign would promote better understanding on ILERA EKO, clear grey areas and misconceptions that the union leaders or public servants may have on the health plan.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Relations, Mr. Tunde Ogundeko, the Head of Service said that misconception is not negative, rather it is a view of an opinion that is not correct because it is based on faulty thinking or understanding.
He said that the welfare of the staff and residents of the State is one of the priorities of the present administration led by Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, just as the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) was created to ensure a robust health insurance cover for all the residents, including the Public Servants.
The Head of Service called on the union leaders to be ILERA EKO Ambassadors and ensure that not only their members are enrolled on the health plan but also other Lagos residents as well.
The Honourable Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Mrs. Ajibola Ponnle, represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and Industrial Relations, Mr. Babajide Oladeinde Williams, said: “Information is powerful, it is the oxygen of life and the most successful man on earth is the one that has information”.
Ponnle, who commended LASHMA and the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side), for creating awareness and getting people involved in Health Insurance, said that the overall health and wellbeing of the State workforce is very important to the government, adding that the government is committed to hospitals in the State being well equipped and operational.
In his remarks, the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, maintained that there is no doubt about the success of the programme as the awareness has shown that with a token of N8,500 or N40,000 annually, an individual or a family of six consisting of the father, mother and children below 23 years, can access care under ILERA EKO Health plan.
He said that the State Government has made the premium very affordable for people in order to prevent the out-of-pocket payment of huge medical bills and reduce the financial catastrophe that patients often go through whenever there is a health challenge.
Prof. Abayomi, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha, said that the Lagos State Government recognised that health insurance is a simple way of getting wholesome service without getting into poverty and called on all the residents of the State to embrace ILERA EKO in order to ensure their financial protection.
Prof. Abayomi expressed confidence that COVID-19 has made everybody realise that health issues can occur at any time and, therefore, urged everyone to know that good health is very essential and that the only way to guarantee it is through the ILERA EKO Health Plan.
The Board Chairman, Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Adetokunbo Alakija, in his opening remarks, noted that it is critical for individuals to have unrestricted access to healthcare services that will ensure their wellbeing.
He said that the Lagos State Government has taken actionable steps to bring the State closer to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and these included the 75 per cent payment of health insurance premiums by the State Government for all its Public Servants, as well as creating the State equity fund of one per cent from its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the payment of health insurance premiums for the vulnerable in the State.
Earlier, the Chairman, Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side), Lagos State, Comrade Rhamon Balogun, said that the JNC collaborated with LASHMA in order to ensure that all the workers in the Public Service have unhindered access to healthcare and enjoy the benefits package to further promote a workforce that is physically, mentally and psychologically fit to discharge their duties.
The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) led by the General Manager, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, made presentations on Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme for the Unions in the Public Service of Lagos State.
She assured the union leaders that the Agency is presently working on plans to expand the benefits for Public Servants, including the recently retired Public Servants from the Lagos State Public Service.