By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—IN his determined effort to increase Abia people’s access to quality health services in the state, especially in the rural areas, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the introduction of E-health delivery service, telemedicine in the state.
Telemedicine, a brand new innovation in health delivery services in this part of the world, is delivered through telephone conversation between trained doctors and patients as against going to the clinic to meet the doctors physically. It is believed that it would help to save lives, especially in times of emergency.
According to explanation by health experts, telemedicine is an innovative way through which a doctor and patient effectively interact. The doctor communicates with the patient receiving medical attention/advice through dedicated phone lines. The telephone lines are linked directly to a central call center with trained doctors readily available. The system is said to work well abroad.
After being briefed and demonstrations conducted on the workings of the system, Governor Ikpeazu who also test-ran the service, was impressed and gave approval for the take off of pilot service. He expressed hope that it would help more people in the state to have access to health care services/advice.
According to Ikpeazu, in today’s world with major advances in technology, any society that refuses to embrace new ways of doing things would be left behind. He assured of his government’s full support for the new health care scheme.
Consequently, the Governor gave the State Ministry of Health approval to partner with the project consultants, DIAL A DOC, who had been in the state for the past six months test-running the scheme.
The Lead Consultant, Dr. Omas Ubiame told Governor Ikpeazu during the demonstration, that Abia is the first state in the country to successfully pilot the project which she said would revolutionise medical access in the country.
Dr. Ubiame explained that they expected a maximum of 2,000 calls from patients but recorded over 9,000 from patients, an indication that the project was accepted and would be successful in the state. Explaining further, Dr. Ubiame told the Governor that under the scheme, special cards with PIN number will be rolled out which can be purchased at N500 each, with which a patient calls a given number that links to a doctor who will attend to him/her.
According to her, the scheme would work with existing primary healthcare centres in the state for easy reach to the rural communities.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. John Ahukanna assured that the scheme would succeed in the state, saying that with the support of the government, the scheme would bring succour to the people of the state and reduce pressure on the hospitals.