Health Insurance: Lagos Adopts Technology to Aid Easy Access for Residents

Martins Ifijeh

Ahead of the soon to be launched mandatory Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS), the state government recently said it would adopt a technology based application that would go a long way to ensure easy access of the scheme by residents, especially for underprivileged households.

The LSHS is a state-wide health insurance initiative targeted to ensure that all residents of the state have access to quality, affordable healthcare services.

The scheme covers treatment of common adult and childhood ailments, maternal and child services, preventive healthcare services, selected non-communicable diseases and surgeries.

Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, in a statement, said the technology, ‘CarePay’ ICT platform was a mobile solution for scheme administration, which serves as a digital health exchange that would connect the three important stakeholders in healthcare: payers, healthcare providers and the users or beneficiaries.

He expressed optimism that the CarePay platform “will guarantee ownership of all data generated and ensure that these data can be used to make informed decisions”.

He said one of the objectives was to demonstrate how digital mobile solutions can be utilised to improve decision-making and transparency, reduce transaction costs, and increase access especially for poor households.

Idris said in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health, PharmAccess Foundation Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving access to healthcare in Africa through technology and mobile innovations, implemented the proof of concept mirroring the LSHS benefit package, provider payment mechanisms and the interaction between patients and providers.

He said the proof of concept has 153 families (659 enrollees) in two facilities (one private provider and one public provider) in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

Idris said: “Having run for a period of 12 months, the pilot witnessed the 659 beneficiaries, whose premium was paid for by PharmAccess Nigeria, received access to free healthcare for the duration of the pilot.

“The results of this pilot show that the scheme is doable and is a step in the right direction towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for the residents of Lagos State.”

According to the General Manager, Lagos State Health Management Agency, Dr. Peju Adenusi, the scheme is a mandatory pre-paid health plan for all residents, adding that the LSHS aims to as achieve universal coverage and provide financial protection against catastrophic health care spending. “A healthy population is a productive population,” Adenusi added.

On her part, Country Director of PharmAccess Foundation Nigeria, Mrs Njide Ndili, said the proof of concept which started in September, 2017, was implemented to demonstrate how the scheme can improve the lives of the most vulnerable population at scale, using the mobile phone and light technology.

She explained that prior to commencement of the proof of concept, field agents visited communities around two selected hospitals – Igando General Hospital and Subol Hospital to recruit eligible beneficiaries who will then be enrolled into the pilot.

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