By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Thursday said the much awaited State Health Insurance Scheme (LSHS) will commence in November, 2017.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris said this on Thursday in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria at the 2017 Ministerial Press Briefing of the Ministry of Health to commemorate second year in office of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led administration in Lagos State.
Idris noted that a core implementation team comprising relevant technical persons, stakeholders, private sector and donor community was set up to draw up a blueprint that will facilitate the effective roll-out of the scheme.
“An actuarial study was conducted to serve as an objective basis to inform decisions on the design of benefit structures, reimbursement standards and the effects of proposed government standards on the cost of healthcare for the scheme”, the commissioner stated.
Idris mentioned that the operational guidelines for the scheme to provide a framework to guide the operations of the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA); the agency established to manage the scheme have already been concluded.
He added that the premium cost for the scheme has been determined and fixed, stressing that the fixed cost was lower than the actuarial determined cost to make it affordable for residents.
The commissioner also disclosed that the appointment of the General Manager of LASHMA has been concluded, adding that the engagement of a consultant to mid-wife the selection process for the agency’s management team is at the final stage.
He stated that the business process manual (BPM) which give details of how the day-to-day activities of the organization would be executed has been concluded for use by LASHMA.
Idris noted that the soft launch of the Scheme would start in June, 2017 with the commencement of mass sensitization of all strata of Lagos residents and social marketing involving sustained multi-pronged consumer engagement adding that focus will be on actively and creatively engaging the informal sector on whose buy-in the success of this Scheme is largely dependent.
“advocacy sessions with active engagement of relevant stakeholders critical to the success of the scheme have also commenced and are on-going. A robust advocacy and social marketing campaign has also been designed to facilitate the awareness and buy-in of citizens is to be rolled-out in June,” he said.
Idris explained that the active engagement of the informal sector critical to the sustainability of the scheme was considered a priority, stressing that a strategy for engagement of the informal has been initiated with the support of Ministries, Departments and Agencies interfacing the informal sector on various fronts.
The commissioner, while stating that the State government would finalize the details of the Provider Payment System (PPS) of the scheme with the relevant stakeholders like health insurance agents and providers, noted that the ICT platform for the scheme will also be finalized and tested towards the complete roll out of the scheme in November this year.
“Looking back I can confidently say that during this period the State health sector has made great progress; more than four million people had access to our facilities and more than 80,000 have been seen at the on-going medical mission for the treatment of common ailments at the grass roots. There is also a renewed vigor to kick start the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme to improve access to healthcare services”, he stated.