Sterling Bank
Sterling Bank

Sterling Bank Plc has concluded plans to partner with the Lagos State Government on its push to enrol all residents on a health insurance programme in partnership with the Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA).

Obinna Ukachukwu, Divisional Head, Health and Education Sectors, Sterling Bank, who disclosed this in a statement issued by the bank during the week, said the funding will be sourced largely online, using the professional acuity of Giving.Ng, a reputable crowdfunding platform as an independent organisation.

He said, “The need to ensure access to basic health coverage under a health insurance scheme despite the prevailing socio-economic challenges bedevilling the people across the country and prevent unnecessary deaths is the biggest motivation for this.”

“Besides mobilising additional funds to help identified vulnerable residents access health insurance through the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS), we will also collaborate with Eko Social Health Alliance (EkoSHA) to work with different departments and agencies engaged in social welfare empowerment and poverty alleviation programmes so that beneficiaries do not only have health insurance but will be provided the opportunity to enhance their ability to attain sustainable livelihood,” Ukachukwu noted.

EkóSHA is an alliance of private institutions, public institutions, development and multilateral partners and individuals seeking the good of all residents of Lagos. The initiative is designed to mobilise adequate funds to help the identified vulnerable residents of Lagos State access health insurance through the Lagos State Health Plan in the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS).

The alliance is an initiative of the Lagos State Government coordinated through the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) to ensure that all Lagos State residents, including its vulnerable population have access to the state’s health insurance scheme.

Another objective of the EkóSHA is to mobilise additional funds through funding partners and facilitators like banks, local and international donor agencies, corporate bodies, religious organisations, NGOs and high net worth individuals to register for the adoption of these groups of persons by paying premiums for their healthcare coverage. This is in a bid to reduce out-of-pocket costs for additional services not fully covered.

The state government, through the Lagos State Health Funds, has set aside the statute backed equity fund of one percent of its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to pay for residents who cannot afford to pay for health insurance for themselves but the one percent of the CRF will cover only five percent of the current estimated poor population in the state.

EkóSHA, therefore, seeks to raise additional N50 billion annually for three years in the first instance to augment the equity fund. It will also extend access to a larger number of vulnerable and poor residents while increasing their inclusion and productivity in society by improving their health status.

EkóSHA is governed by an independent board led by eminent and respected personalities in the private sector and international development institutions with the secretariat managed by the General Manager/CEO of LASHMA.