On Tuesday October 31st, Queen Máxima visited Subol Hospital, a private hospital in Lagos State, where she was informed about a PharmAccess-led pilot program that is making health insurance available for the poor through the mobile phone.
She also paid a courtesy visit to Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, and commended the State for its commitment to inclusive healthcare through the upcoming mandatory health insurance scheme.
Governor Ambode reiterated this support: ‘We believe that if we pool the resources of every other person in the State together, those that cannot afford will be able to have a chance to access healthcare. We want to say that we are deeply committed to that vision and we are committed to that ideal, and also say that we will do everything possible to make sure that the health insurance scheme starts up early next year. We can now allow people to have some sense of inclusion which is one of the basic principles of good governance.’
Queen Máxima has served as the UNSGSA since 2009. She is a leading global voice advancing universal access to affordable, effective, and safe financial services. Over the past few years, she has increasingly been advocating the potential of mobile technology as a catalytic tool for financial inclusion. During this visit, she met with a broad range of public and private sector stakeholders, including the Vice President of Nigeria, the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Governor of Lagos State. She participated in a private sector Round Table on increasing access to finance, and met with representatives from the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nigerian Development Bank.
Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme
First on her itinerary was a visit to the pilot program that PharmAccess is implementing as part of its technical support to Lagos State. Lagos State is currently designing a statewide mandatory health insurance scheme, which is set to launch in early 2018. This scheme aims to cover the State’s approximately 22 million residents, about 60% of which are considered to be living below the poverty line. Upon Lagos State’s request, PharmAccess is involved in a technical advisory role.
Complementary to this work, PharmAccess and CarePay are implementing a six-month pilot that aims to deliver proof-of-concept of how digital technology can help accelerate financial and health inclusion in Nigeria, starting with the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme.
This pilot connects 150 low-income families, a private hospital and a public hospital on a single digital platform. Patients fill in a digital survey about their financial situation, giving Lagos State the opportunity to provide subsidized health insurance through the mobile phone to those households that meet the income criteria. Provider payments and interactions between patients and the hospitals will also run on the CarePay digital platform.
Lessons learned during this pilot will enable Lagos State to improve processes before the scheme is launched statewide.
PharmAccess in Nigeria
With the longstanding support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PharmAccess continues to develop market-based innovations for economic inclusion in global health. In Nigeria, PharmAccess has been developing pre-payment mechanisms and risk-pooling structures for low-income families since 2007. Our insurance program in Kwara State has provided services for more than a million patients. In 2016, it won the Financial Times/IFC Transformational Business Award for sustainable development in health. With the support of the World Bank Group’s Health in Africa Initiative, we are currently also advising Kwara State, Lagos State and Ogun State on implementing statewide health insurance schemes. This will apply our demand and supply-side approach, with a prominent role for the SafeCare standards. We are also providing strategic advice on the Lagos scheme’s impact evaluation framework.
- Please find the press release about Queen Máxima’s visit to Nigeria on the website of the Royal House of the Netherlands.