The National Executive of the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, has set up a telehealth solutions initiative to cater to the health needs of one million vulnerable Nigerians as the world battles COVID-19.
This was stated in a statement by the NARD President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, and Chairman, NARD Telehealth Committee, Dr. Kenneth Uwajeh in Lagos.
The programme, called ‘NARD 1 in a Million Programme’, is a revolutionary medical outreach to one million Nigerians targeted at increasing COVID-19 awareness from screening for symptoms, prevention and management mainly targeting the grassroots via digital means (telemedicine).
They lamented, however, that COVID-19 pandemic “has left its indelible marks on our association and nation at large. But NARD has fashioned a way to embark on a programme to curb the menace.
“Our solution aims to reduce the brain drain to body drain by providing access to doctors licensed in Nigeria irrespective of where they are physically located.
“The goal of the Telehealth solutions is to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 among the poor, vulnerable and underserved members of the population at the primary care level.
“We recognise the challenges of providing services at this level, which includes the disproportionate lack of qualified health practitioners and the unsupervised service providers, despite task-shifting strategies.”
He added that Telehealth solutions have been successfully implemented globally and within the African continent.
“We believe a similar approach would be successful within the primary care system in Nigeria.
“We have an army of at least 15,000 doctors in our association, many of whom are willing to provide these services for free in the battle to defeat COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable masses.
“In this regard, NARD has engaged with several agencies locally and internationally.
“Some of the agencies include the NCDC, NPHCDA, NGF, and consultants including renowned public health leaders such as Professor Asuzu of UCH; Dr Fajola MD, FWACP Manager, Regional Community Health at Shell; Dr. Wole Odutolu, Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank, and Professor Pamela George, George Washington University.
“NARD is committed to giving its time, talents and treasure to save the suffering masses.”
They stated further that they will be using existing infrastructure— LG, PHCs, CHEWs and volunteer NARDites: patient–health officer–patient; health officer–doctor–patient; doctor–laboratory-pharmacy algorithm.
They noted that the best part is that all of this takes place online.
NARD said on the side of the populace, this will further improve health literacy on COVID-19, change their health-seeking behaviour, access to health care in the comfort of their homes, access to high-quality health care that is affordable, reduction in risk of contracting COVID-19 and reduction in morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19.
“This is our chance to write history as COVID-19 is the greatest challenge ever faced in modern times.
“In the process, we not only save our nation but save the continent and the world,” NARD added.