• Monday, June 24, 2024
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FG, Canadian firm launch digital platform to deepen healthcare access

FG, Canadian firm launch digital platform to deepen healthcare access

The Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NigComSat) has partnered with Ethnomet, a Canadian firm to launch ‘NigComHealth’, a telemedicine platform that will allow millions of Nigerians to have access to quality healthcare.

It is expected to transform the way patients and healthcare providers connect by providing convenient and accessible medical consultations by licensed healthcare professionals anytime, anywhere via mobile app.

During the launch of the digital platform in Abuja this week, Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, represented by Sahalu Junaidu, his chief of staff said the platform would promote a “more efficient and effective healthcare system that could be accessible to all Nigerians.”

“The current situation is worsening, with “each physician attending to more than 5,000 patients. This represents a stark contrast with WHO’s recommendation of 1 doctor to 600 patients,” the minister said.

“And with 218 million people to cater for, he said that Nigeria requires at least 363,000 additional doctors to meet this target,” which he believes NigComHealth will help achieve.”

The new telemedicine platform combines innovative technology with advanced medical tools and pre-vetted licensed healthcare practitioners, enabling virtual medical visits that are secure, efficient, and personalised.

According to the statement, the FG and Ethnomet have partnered with Sawtrax, an indigenous tech implementation company 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,” the statement said.

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NigComSat’s 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, it said.

“To bridge the gap, there is an urgent need to leverage disruptive technology to improve access to healthcare services and quality medical practitioners available within Nigeria and across the globe,” Pantami said.

“Therefore, NigComHealth Platform is a timely solution that could ensure that quality healthcare services are available to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.” He further encouraged “stakeholders in the health sector, both public and private to onboard into the initiative.”

For James Christoff, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, 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 said.

He applauded both the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy and the Federal Ministry for Health, for their vision, and unparalleled commitment to the promotion, technology and health innovation in Nigeria.

Tukur Lawal, managing director, NigComSat Ltd said that the platform will reduce the massive capital flight spent by Nigerians on medical tourism annually.

“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,” he said.

Garnette Weber, CEO, Ethnomet 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.

“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,” she said.

“In 2022, General Practitioners from 10 different countries reported that 52 percent 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,” the director said.

“NigComSat and Ethnomet have scheduled training for industry stakeholder leaders in days to come”