The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami has said that Nigeria requires additional 363,000 medical doctors to meet the target of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking while unveiling
NigComHealth in Abuja, the minister said that the situation is worsening in the country with “each doctor attending to more than 5,000 patients.
“This represents a stark contrast with WHO’s recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients. “And with 218 million people to cater for, Nigeria requires at least 363,000 additional doctors to meet this target.”
The Minister, who was represented by his Chief of staff, Professor Sahalu Junaidu, said that the platform would promote a “more efficient and effective healthcare system that could be accessible to all Nigerians.”
He said that NigComHealth will help achieve the target set by WHO, saying that the new telemedicine platform combines innovative technology with advanced medical tools and pre-vetted licensed healthcare practitioners.
He said that the new platform would enable virtual medical visits that are secure, efficient, and personalized.
“The Federal Government and Ethnomet have partnered with indigenous tech implementation company Sawtrax to implement the platform across Nigeria. This will make it possible for Nigerians in any part of the country, including rural and remote areas, to book and attend appointments with qualified and specialized doctors.
“NigComHealth’ Multi-tenant Virtual Healthcare Service Platform is designed for all hospitals to be able to integrate their healthcare professionals and offer digital health services to the Nigerian population.
“To bridge the gap, there is urgent need to leverage on the disruptive technology to improve access to healthcare services and quality medical practitioners available within Nigeria and across the globe. Therefore, NigComHealth Platform is a timely solution that could ensure that quality healthcare services are available to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.”
He encouraged stakeholders in the health sector, both public and private, to on onboard in the initiative.
This was even as the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. James Christoff
said that the platform will be a game changer in improving health outcomes especially in underserved and remote areas.
“The technology has been developed with the vision and strategic objective of having over 80 Federal and State-owned Government hospitals coexist on the platform. The platform is also meant to provide digital health services to 1.7 million public sector workers and their families in Nigeria.”
He applauded both the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy as well as the Federal Ministry for Health, for their vision, and unparalleled commitment to the promotion, technology and health innovation in Nigeria.
Engineer Tukur Lawal, the Managing Director of NigComSat Ltd said that the platform will reduce the massive capital flight by Nigerians on medical tourism annually.
He said that the platform will provide Nigerians with the opportunity to access affordable and world-class services from professionals regardless of their geographic location, without the need to travel to urban areas.
Ethnomet CEO, Ms. Garnette Weber, who joined the event virtually, described the digital health solution as a demonstration of the Nigeria Government’s commitment to leveraging innovative technologies to provide quality and accessible healthcare for Nigerians in all regions.
Weber said that “Telehealth has proven to be very effective in addressing these healthcare challenges as indicated in the Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians. In 2022, General Practitioners from 10 different countries reported that 52% of encounters would have been clinically appropriate through video interactions with patients. Telehealth services improve health resource utilization and access to care. ”
Mike Amanyi, Product Director for Ethnomet, presented and demonstrated the technology’s capabilities. In addition to booking and attending appointments with doctors and specialists, the opportunity also exists for community virtual health centers, and integrating health data from smartwatches and other wearable devices. NigComSat and Ethnomet have scheduled training for industry stakeholder leaders in days to come”