The Lagos State Government says it will soon launch its health insurance scheme.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris said that government was firming up arrangements to ensure the success of the scheme.
He attributed the delay on the commencement of the scheme in Lagos state to lack of data.
Idris said “the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) part of the health insurance is very important. We need to start with it, because we want to warehouse our data; we want to start keeping our data right from when we start, so that we can make improvements as we go along. It will not be successful if that platform is not ready, because we do not want to be using paper work. Once it starts, data collection will be easy and periodically we assess, so that we can check progress, look at the problem areas, check disease pattern. These are some of the things we are missing in our environment that is why the scheme is taking so long to start.’’
The commissioner said the scheme was compulsory for every resident in the state and therefore urged the residents to subscribe.
According to him, public servants in the state will pay 25 per cent of their contributions, while the government pays 75 per cent.
“Before now, we have always run free health services for health workers and members of the public. But we realise that nothing is free; we do not have the amount of money required to run free health services. We require about N8 billion every year to be able to sustain it. We do not have that kind of money. That is why at a stage everybody must contribute,’’ he said.
Idris said that government could not fund the health sector alone due to limited resources.
According to him, the government, under the health insurance scheme, will partner with the private sector to provide healthcare services to the people.
“There are basic Primary Health Care (PHC) issues we have to contend with such as nutrition, sanitation and immunisation. Apart from that, we need to staff those healthcare facilities. It all depends on resources available to government; public private partnership is essential. There are some local government areas that do not have hospitals or PHCs. There are people in the private sector who are operating facilities there. So, we are going to partner with them under the health insurance scheme where payment is guaranteed up to a particular point,’’ the commissioner said.