The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), has inducted the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable (Dr.) Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, the Deputy Speaker, Honourable (Mrs) Mojisola Lasbat Meranda and 10 other Honourable Members, as ILERA EKO Ambassadors and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Champions.

The Honourable Members in the 10th Assembly were inducted during a two-day Orientation Retreat Themed: “Building a Healthy Future Together: Strengthening Social Health Insurance for All in Lagos State”, organised by LASHMA on the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island.

The Deputy Speaker, Honourable (Mrs) Mojisola Lasbat Meranda, who represented the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly on the second day of the retreat, appreciated LASHMA, for organising the Retreat, aimed at broadening the knowledge and understanding of the Honourable Members on the activities of the Agency.

She appealed to the Ministry of Health and LASHMA to put more effort into monitoring the processes involved in accessing care. “Let us monitor the exercise, so that we will know when to expand and what to improve on when it comes to the health insurance that we are covering”, she said.

The Chairman, House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Olumoh Saad Lukman, while declaring open the two-day retreat on behalf of the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Honourable (Dr.) Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa said that the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS), is a good initiative by the Lagos State Government. 

He added that the Scheme has assisted many residents from paying huge medical bills out-of-pocket especially at this time, when there is economic hardship in the country.  

He commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, for a lot of work that is being done in the State, especially in the health sector. 

Rt. Hon. Dr. Obasa said that Lagos is a Centre of Excellence and what has been achieved in the State today, is through the harmonious working relationship between the Legislative and the Executive. 

The Speaker congratulated LASHMA for hitting the one million lives mark in its enrolment and advised the Agency not to relent in its efforts to ensure that by the end of the year 2024, it would have recorded another milestone success. 

The Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Hon. Lawal Aina Musibau, noted that the timely initiative of the Lagos State Government in introducing Health insurance has indeed taken Lagos State to a greater height. 

He recalled that the journey to the Lagos State Health Financing as a tool to articulate strategies to bridge the health financing gap and develop sustainable Health Financing directions with a focus on innovative exploration of alternate sources of financing commenced in Year 2014.

Hon. Lawal added that in furtherance to the Health Financing Policy, the Lagos State Government, enacted the Lagos State Health Scheme Law in 2015 and this eventually established the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) and Lagos State Health Fund (LASHEF). 

The Honourable Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, in his special remarks, said that the focus of his Ministry is to aspire to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and also position Lagos State, as one of the top five megacities in Africa where Africans can access advance healthcare services thereby reducing drastically, a lot of foreign exchange spent by the people on medical care outside the continent. 

Professor Abayomi noted that with about 400 public health facilities compared to 4,000 private health facilities in the State, the majority of the people have access to care in private health facilities including traditional clinics. He therefore called for the need for Private Partnership Participation (PPP) in Health Financing as the Government cannot do it all. 

The Commissioner said that Health insurance is not in our culture and this is why it is difficult to market health insurance in the country. He added that there is therefore the need to inject more funds into Health insurance so that people can be satisfied with what they see in the supply and demand sides of health insurance.

The Special Adviser on Health, Mrs Kemi Ogunyemi said that the Lagos State Health Scheme became imperative as a global best practice in modern day Health Care Financing. She added that a lot of lives have been saved and families have been lifted out of penury as a result of the Social Health Insurance Coverage provided by LASHMA. 

The Board Chairman, LASHMA, Dr. Adebayo Adedewe, in his welcome address, commended the Lawmakers for their commitment to knowing more about LASHMA and its activities.

He said, “This is a demonstration of your collective dedication to the people of Lagos State and your tireless efforts in shaping the healthcare landscape in our State”. 

The Permanent Secretary, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, took the Honourable Members through the journey so far on the three arms of LASHMA – ILERA EKO, Regulations and EKO Social Health Alliance (EKOSHA), which is an arm that caters for the vulnerable. She appealed to the Lawmakers for more collaboration and support for LASHMA to achieve its mandate. 

The Chief of Party, the United States for International Aid (USAID), Local Health System and Sustainability (LHSS) Programme commended the Agency for its efforts in crossing one million lives and enrolling the vulnerable including People living with HIV.

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