LAGOS HEALTH SCHEME: LASHMA Partners Microfinance Banks To Reach Grassroots
The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has partnered Microfinance Banks in the State as part of efforts to ensure that Lagosians at the grassroots have access to quality healthcare, through the Lagos Health Scheme, in order to live a healthy life. The General Manager of the Agency, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, speaking at a meeting with the Managing Directors of Microfinance Banks at NECA House, Ikeja, said that the partnership would open up more business opportunities for the banks in the State and increase the number of enrollees who will benefit from the scheme. Dr. Zamba, represented at the meeting by the Head of Finance, LASHMA, Mrs. Aramide Ojo, added that with the partnership, more people at the grassroots, who are predominantly in the informal sector, would take advantage of the collaboration to enrol in the scheme. She emphasised that the Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring the realisation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all residents, irrespective of their economic or social class, adding that it is, therefore, imperative for Lagosians to have access to the Health Insurance Scheme. The General Manager said that the Scheme is a social insurance plan, which is affordable and beneficial to all Lagos residents, as against the huge financial cost associated with securing adequate medical treatment by Lagosians on their own. She implored the captains of the Microfinance Banks to cascade the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) to the grassroots by developing products around the scheme and ensuring that all their customers subscribe, saying that "Sick customers cannot be productive or pay their loans. We should also not expect any positive contribution to the economic development of the State from those who are not physically fit and healthy”. While maintaining that the Health Scheme initiative is aimed at ensuring Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all, including the vulnerable, Zamba appealed to the Microfinance Banks to support the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) in realising its objectives as the banks are vital to the social and economic foundation at the grassroots. The President Emeritus, National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB), Dr. Valentine Whensu, who commended the Lagos State Government for establishing the Scheme, said that Microfinance Banks in the State would network with the State Government and the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) in ensuring the success and sustainability of the Scheme. He said that there is no Bank that goes to the grassroots except for Microfinance Banks, therefore, the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) made a good choice "to partner with us as we are the people of the grassroots".