Stakeholders in the healthcare sector in Lagos State have called for universal health coverage across the state among other topical issues.
The call was made during at the biennial conference of the Lagos State branch of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), with the theme ‘Universal Health Coverage – Building Resilient Health Systems’
Speaking at the conference, Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, outlined plans to domesticate the National Health Insurance Act in the state.
Abayomi added that the domestication will enable Lagosians to have access to comprehensive health insurance coverage.
He emphasised the pivotal role of health insurance in promoting health awareness, encouraging early detection and treatment of diseases, and creating a cost-effective healthcare delivery system.
“By implementing this act, the government aims to provide financial protection to individuals and families, ensuring that they can access the healthcare services they need without experiencing financial hardship,” he noted.
At the conference, plenary sessions addressed topical issues as barriers to immunisation coverage, including cultural, religious, and financial; health insurance coverage and barriers to adoption, and healthcare worker attrition, with attention to the causes and potential solutions, such as community engagement to improve access to immunisation, public awareness to engage our communities in the acceptance and adoption of health insurance schemes, and the improvement of healthcare worker welfare and safety to address attrition, with emphasis on the need to prioritise primary health care and invest in training and education of healthcare workers to increase the pool of healthcare professionals in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the conference, Professor Akin Osibogun, emphasised the need to address the lack of desired outcomes in Nigeria’s healthcare system despite significant investments.
Osibogun compared Nigeria’s situation to other countries that invest less but achieve better results.
He, therefore, highlighted the importance of effective utilisation of resources and the need for strategic planning in healthcare.
The Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, underscored the goal of the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme, which aims to provide equitable access to quality healthcare for all residents.
Zamba urged attendees to enroll in the affordable Ilera Eko Health Insurance package, which offers comprehensive coverage for basic healthcare services.
Chief Executive Officer of Duchess International Hospital, Dr. Tokunbo Shitta-Bey, who highlighted the root cause of healthcare worker attrition in Nigeria, emphasised the urgent need to focus on strengthening the healthcare system while also addressing healthcare worker welfare, continuing training, and task shifting.
The keynote speaker, Professor Olumuyiwa Odusanya, centered on achieving Universal Health Coverage, while Prof. Macellina Ijadunola spoke on access to healthcare in the global south and the need for vaccine manufacturing in the global south.
One of the event sponsors, Ms. Simbo Bello-Ukiri, the Chief Executive Officer of Avon HMO, also spoke on increasing the uptake of health insurance as a method of improving access to healthcare.
Other event sponsors included GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Transcorp Hotels.