By CHIOMA OBINNA
FEDERAL government has been urged to urgently develop and establish an effective strategy for the implementation of e- Health in Nigeria.
President of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele who made the plea in Lagos, regretted that Nigeria is yet to explore the many benefits of e-Health, which he described as a safe, secure, ethical and cost effective transmission and exchange of health data and information
Enabulele, who called for implementation of the strategy through the Federal Ministries of Health, Communications and Technology, spoke during the 53rd NMA Annual Conference with the theme: “e-Health and its potentials for Improving Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria” sponsored by Dettol.
Listing common e- health applications to include m- Health, Telemedicine and Electronic Health Records (EHR), he noted that even though some medical institutions in Nigeria are currently embracing e-Health, absence of a National e-Health Policy was making it hard to facilitate a systematic, coherent and sustainable implementation of e-Health in the country.
“Whereas there is overwhelming evidence that developing countries such as India, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda have explored the potentials of e-Health in transforming their health systems and economies, Nigeria is yet enthrone a strategic policy for sustained utilisation of e-Health in a way to maximise its alluring and undeniable benefits in the strengthening Nigeria’s healthcare system, improving access of Nigerians to healthcare services in the face of limited resources and acute -on- chronic shortage of medical /health manpower, improving medical education and research, improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare services and therefore improving the health and development indices of Nigeria,” he remarked.
Chairman, Lagos branch of NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile who commended Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Dettol for its unwavering partnership with NMA, said the NMA had chosen e- Health as part of efforts to making healthcare accessible and better for the common man.
“With e- Health, we can have a far wide healthcare accessibility to Nigerians. It is obvious policy makers need to drive it down but we also need to educate ourselves to let our members know that there is a new thing happening. E-Health is not strange because with electronic medical records, wherever you go, that doctor will be able to see your history and know how to continue treatment.
” I may not be a specialist in one area but I will sit in my hospital and through e-Health communicate with a specialist anywhere in the world to treat the patient. I can also perform surgery and another surgeon will be viewing the surgery and be directing me. This is why a national health strategy on e- Health is necessary.”
Former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu said with e-Health in place, funds expended on medical tourism can be reduced.
Former Lagos State Commissioner Health, Dr. Leke Pitan who represented Asiwaju Bola Tunubu stated that with e- Health the patient can relate directly, promptly to his personal physician, whose access to the patient is made simpler and faster.