One of Africa’s fastest-growing companies and Nigeria’s leading financial institution, Sterling Bank, has joined forces with the Lagos State Government to expand the reach of its health care provision with the launch of the Ilera Eko Virtual Booth, designed to bring healthcare closer to the people and expand the reach of its health insurance scheme; Ilera Eko, across the state.

This announcement was made by Mr. Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head of Business Growth at Sterling Bank, during the inaugural Lagos State Insurance Summit held in Lagos recently.

He said the bank and the Lagos State Health Management Agency; LASHMA plans to leverage technology to bring health these insurance booths to where most of the informal sector work, thus expanding the reach of healthcare services to residents of the state.

He noted that most residents earn daily pay from their trade locations, making it difficult for them to leave and go to the clinic when sick, hence the need for these first-line health services in various informal business clusters around the state. He remarked that LASHMA is very solutionleaning in its approach to healthcare distribution, hence this project became a reality.

He added that the bank will finance the building of all the booths and provide resources to aid their management. Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, delivered a keynote address at the event, urging stakeholders to align with the National Health Insurance Authority Act and ensure compliance with the Lagos State Health Scheme law.

The governor, represented by the Permanent Secretary, of Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said, “These services include a full range of essential health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. This is one of the major goals of the health and environment pillar of the T.H.E.M.E.S+ agenda, with the ‘plus’ representing the incorporation of an intensified focus on social inclusion, gender equality and youth development in these next four years.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu continued by saying that about 300 of the unveiled booths will be strategically placed, in locations across Lagos State, and virtual access to doctors will be provided using telemedicine for consultations and diagnosis, with prescriptions to be taken to the nearest community pharmacy where the medication will be dispensed.

In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, stated that the Summit will serve as a critical platform for exchanging ideas and fostering innovation towards achieving universal healthcare coverage in the state.

Dr. Zamba expressed how the agency worked tirelessly over the last three years to create structures and operationalise the social health plan as part of strategies geared towards achieving universal healthcare

Chairman of LASHMA Governing Board, Dr. Adebayo Adedewe remarked that establishing the Lagos State Health Scheme is a step in the right direction and an ideal model to ensure Lagosians have access to quality and affordable healthcare services.

The partnership between Sterling Bank and the Lagos State Government is a crucial step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, ensuring essential healthcare services are accessible to all citizens, and improving the overall quality of life.

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Constance Johnson E

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