July 9, 2013

e-Health: Experts seek promotion of hygienic practices


Stakeholders in the health sector have noted that the only way  to achieve a pragmatic e-Health policy for Nigeria, is through the promotion of hygienic practices that include regular hand washing.

At the week- long 53rd Annual Conference of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, health experts called for  observance of hygienic practices that would go a long way in raising the standards of health among Nigerians.

During the event organised by Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Dettol, with the theme “e-Health and its Potentials for Improving Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria”, Dettol Representative at the Global Hygiene Council, Dr. Nneoma Idika, urged government and others to accord the concept of hygiene its deserved place.

In her presentation entitled, “The Role of Hygiene in Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria’’,  Idika ,who is also  Chief Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, observed that hygiene cuts across every sphere of life stressed that hygiene was important to keeping Nigerians healthy always.

“In developed countries, reducing infectious disease is achieved by programmes that integrate hygiene promotion with improvements in water supply and sanitation”, she stated.

She, however, expressed hope that going by research findings, proper hand washing with soap had been proved to reduce diarrhoea disease by 50 per cent; respiratory infections by 25 per cent as well as eye and skin infections. In the same vein, she informed that safe disposal of wastes, surface hygiene and care of domestic animals have been adjudged potent in breaking the chain of infection transmission.

‘‘Recent studies in the United States reported that disinfectant products stopped the spread of influenza by 31 per cent. In Nigeria, regular hand washing with soap showed 30 per cent reduction in mortality due to diarrhoea infections’’, Idika said.

NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, described e-Health as a safe, secure, ethical and cost effective transmission and exchange of health data and information.

Enabulele enumerated common e-Health applications to include m-Health, Telemedicine and Electronic Health Records (EHR) even as he noted that although some medical institutions in Nigeria were currently deploying e-Health, the absence of a National e-Health Policy was making it hard to facilitate a systematic, coherent and sustainable implementation of the platform.

Chairman, Lagos State branch of the NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile said the choice of e-Health as the conference topic was part of efforts by the NMA to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to 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, a doctor will be able to see your history and know how to continue treatment”, he submitted.