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The Lagos State Government Tuesday said its free healthcare programme would no longer cover such complex health issues that required good amount of money, which the state might not be able to provide due to competing needs.
However, the state government has urged residents across all the local councils to take advantage of health insurance in order to complement the state’s free healthcare programmes, which it could readily afford. The state Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), explained this while unveiling the Burns and Truama Centre located at the Gbagada General Hospital.
The governor, who unveiled the centre alongside the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris and his Special Duties counterpart, Dr. Wale Ahmed, said the state could no longer provide free healthcare services for complicated cases. Fashola reeled out the categories of health issues the state government would not afford to treat free of charge to include complex surgical operations, kidney issues, cancer as well as complicated child birth among others. He explained that now that the challenge of infrastructure and welfare had been dealt with, the state government “will move to the most defining issue-medical insurance.
Our healthcare policy can only go that far. “The rate at which our population is growing is not commensurate with the rate at which the state resources are growing. We can provide free healthcare on antenatal care and malaria especially for certain segments of the society. But we cannot provide healthcare for complex surgery, kidney, cancer, and complicated child birth free. This is what I think that citizens must sign up and be their own insurer from where the free healthcare stops.” Since completion in April and during test run, Fashola explained that the centre “had provided healthcare service to 351 patients, out of which 86 were admitted.” He noted that: “The most common injury were burns which constituted 24 per cent.
Crash injury which comprises head and neck were 19 per cent of the injury treated so far. Open wound of the head and neck represented about 13 percent and wound involving multiple body fracture was about 11 percent. 63 per cent of the cases attended to so far were between the ages of 15 and 49 year-old.”
He assured that the Cardiac and Kidney centre, which was under construction, would be handed over before the end of the year, explaining that in the last few years, the state government had tried “to balance the pressure on us not only to address infrastructure to support health care but also the welfare of health practitioner.” Speaking also, Idris said as urbanisation and population increase, the state had issues of road accident and trauma, issues of flood and others, thus recalling the Ijegun fire disaster, road traffic accidents and Dana plane crash, whose victims suffered serious injuries on their bodies including burns. He added that it “is the responsibility of the state government to protect residents of the state from suffering from these. That was why we have provided this facility to cater for residents who become victims of these disasters.”