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LAGOS: GOVT. SET TO ESTABLISH ESSENTIAL MEDICINES AGENCY

…25,000 Residents To Benefit from Free Medical Outreach tagged ‘Alafia Eko’

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Lagos State Government has announced plans to establish the Lagos State Essential Medicines Agency (LSEMA) to ensure seamless management and distribution of essential medicines within the state.
Cablenews24 reports that the state Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, disclosed this during the Ministry of Health’s Year 2024 Ministerial Press Briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja. He explained that the establishment of LSEMA represents a pivotal initiative aimed at transforming the management and distribution of essential medicines, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate for every state to set up a Drug Management Agency.
“The establishment of a Drug Management Agency is designed to address significant challenges in the supply chain by introducing a structured and technologically driven approach to the procurement, storage, and distribution of health commodities,” he said.
This Online News Medium understands that Professor Abayomi highlighted several benefits of the Essential Medicines Agency, including robust regulation of medicine flow, improved access to quality drugs, enhanced health planning data, and increased internal revenue generation through efficient drug sales. He also noted that the application of economies of scale during bulk purchases would help maintain stable prices for essential medicines regardless of economic fluctuations.
“We are now at the stage where we are beginning to track the need for a medical drug agency for Lagos State to make sure we control the prices of drugs with economies of scale and bulk purchasing, improve the quality of drugs in Lagos by providing additional quality assessment of the drugs that are brought into Lagos, and to improve the efficiency of movement of drugs through our facilities so that we will never have a situation of stock out,” Professor Abayomi added.
The Commissioner emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships, stating that LSEMA would leverage productive partnerships with the private sector to enhance operational capacities. The agency will act as a regulator, ensuring close cooperation with national regulatory bodies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to maintain strict quality standards for all essential medicines distributed within the state.
“Recognizing the value of collaboration, LSEMA will leverage Public-Private Partnerships to enhance operational capacities. This approach will combine public oversight with private sector efficiency and creativity, particularly in areas such as logistics and the day-to-day management of drug supplies,” Professor Abayomi stated.
To address funding challenges, the agency will explore innovative financing models, including private sector investments. The financial structure is designed to ensure the agency is self-sustaining, with revenues generated through the sale of medicines.
Reaffirming the administration’s commitment to addressing significant challenges in the supply chain of essential medicines, Professor Abayomi noted that the strategic direction of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is focused on transforming the health sector from a cost centre to a significant contributor to the state’s economy.
“We envision a system where every Lagosian has access to quality healthcare, supported by efficient, technology-driven management systems, and a clear, comprehensive referral system. Our efforts are guided by the vision of developing a robust, egalitarian, and liberal health system that ensures equitable access and freedom of choice for all residents,” he said.
On health infrastructure development, Professor Abayomi mentioned that the blueprint for the state’s medical infrastructural development is nearing completion. It incorporates design elements of renewable energy, improved functionality, and ease of maintenance, aiming to significantly improve efficiency, comfort, and reduce operational costs.
The Commissioner also announced the commencement of several key projects, including the new 150-bed Massey Children’s Specialist Hospital, the 280-bed Ojo General Hospital, the 500-bed Ketu Ejinrin Mental Health Institute, the 120-bed Shomolu General Hospital, and the construction of four new Primary Healthcare Centers in Iworo, Ikaare, Idafa, and Agunfoye.
In her remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Kemi Ogunyemi disclosed that the Lagos State has concluded plans to commence a free medical outreach programme tagged, Alafia Eko, targeting 25,000 residents across the six lagos health districts.
Elaborating on the forthcoming medical outreach initiative, she highlighted the significant efforts being made under Mr. Governor’s Eko Cares program to provide free, comprehensive medical check-ups to Lagos residents.
“We are planning to start the medical outreach across the six health districts on the 30th of May. Each district will have four units, aiming to serve about a thousand citizens per unit, totalling approximately 25,000 individuals across the six districts.
“This service will be provided at no cost to the residents under the Eko Cares initiative, designed to deliver essential healthcare services to the people of Lagos, thereby supporting the overarching goal of equitable access to quality healthcare for all residents”, Dr. Ogunyemi announced.
She explained that the first phase of the outreach will begin on the 30th of May, followed by the second phase on the 6th of June. Dr. Ogunyemi emphasized the importance of dividing Lagos into health districts to enhance the efficiency of primary healthcare delivery.
“Lagos is vast, and primary healthcare is crucial. Dividing the state into districts has significantly improved our efficiency. We now have six hardworking Permanent Secretaries dedicated to ensuring that each district and its citizens receive access to affordable, quality healthcare,” she stated.
Ogunyemi stated that the program, branded as Alafia Eko, is a testament to the commitment of the Lagos State Government to provide top-notch healthcare services and ensure that every resident has access to the medical care they need.
“This initiative reflects the strategic direction of the current administration to transform the health sector from a cost center to a significant contributor to the state’s economy”, she concluded.

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