By Sunday Ani
Member, representing Surulere State Constituency 1, Desmond Olusola Elliot, has rolled out a free health insurance scheme for the residents of Surulere Local Government Area of Lagos State.
During the launching of the scheme on Friday, the lawmaker said the programme, which is targeted at 1000 residents, would take off with 250 persons in the first phase. He said 250 residents would be added every quarter until the number gets to 1000.
“We are starting with 250 people in this phase. Our target is 1000 residents in Surulere; we are going to add 250 people every quarter until the number gets to 1000,” he said.
He noted that the idea behind not taking 1000 residents at once was to see how effective the preferred medical centres would be, and also to prevent a situation where too many people would have to struggle to get health services from the two centres. “We can’t do everything at once because we have only two major hospitals that they will be using, and we want to see how effective the hospitals will be. I don’t want to pack too many people and they are disenfranchised. We want to see how Goxi and Toptea medical centres will be able to attend to the people. Once their services are confirmed to be effective, another 250 people would be added before March 2022,” he added.
On the mode of selection, he said that it is open to any resident in Surulere, irrespective of tribe, religion or party affiliation.
Chairman of the Community Development Committee (CDC), Surulere Local Government Area, which comprises 56 CDAs, Mr. Wemimo Emmanuel Odumosu said the idea was conceived following the outbreak of COVID-19, which claimed the lives of a couple of their members.
He said the programme is mainly targeted at the aged, widows, less privileged and community members, who cannot afford to pay for health services.
He also noted that rather than cave in to life and disability kind of insurance, which the company suggested to them, they insisted on what the people need, which is mainly the treatment of common ailments like malaria, as well as regular medical checkup. “So, basically, it is all about comprehensive health insurance,” he added.
Expressing gratitude to Mr. Elliot for the kind gesture, he said the programme was the first of its kind in Lagos State. “I want to believe that everybody here today is excited and happy. I am very happy and proud of him,” he said.
In his comment, the representative of Goxi Microinsurance also commended the lawmaker, saying that if other public officers could emulate him, Nigeria would be a better place in no distant time.
The Surulere Local Government Chairman, Bamidele Yusuf, described Mr. Eliot as a good listener, who has the feelings of his people at heart. “We thank God for persons like him in Surulere, and I pray that God will continue to bless us all. I want you to appreciate him for this laudable project,” he said.
Former Commissioner for Youths and Sports Development in Lagos, Agboola Dabiri, called on other public officers to emulate what Mr. Elliot has done. “No matter how meager it is, if you have somebody to support your health bills, it goes a long way. What he has done is worthy of emulation. Rather than engage in exuberant birthday parties, you can buy some health insurance for people around and you save lives; it goes a long way. I am really proud of him and what he is doing,” he submitted.