The Federal government on Monday unveiled NIGCOMSAT digital health solution called NIGCOMSAT Health Platform to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to all Nigerians.
Unveiling the solution, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Pantami said the NigcomsatHealth platform would help in bridging the widening gap in the Nigerian health sector.
He described the platform timely solution that could ensure that quality healthcare services are available to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.
With the platform, Pantami said the practice of medical tourism, where the more privileged Nigerians travel abroad for better medical service is hoped to reduce drastically through the NigComHealth programme, where easy.
According to the minister Nigeria’s situation where only 39,914 operational hospitals and clinics across the country with a physician attending to more than 5,000 patients, represents a stark contrast with WHO’s recommendation of 1 doctor to 600 patients.
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 beliefs NigComHealth Platform is coming to the Rescue.
‘‘As we are all aware, comparative to other developed nations, our healthcare system is still underdeveloped in terms telemedicine, outreach and accessibility to quality healthcare services by the vast number of our communities, especially those resident in rural and remote areas.
‘‘Bridge the gap, there is urgent need to leverage on the disruptive technology to improve access to healthcare services and quality medical practitioners available within Nigeria and across the globe.
Therefore, NigComHealth Platform is a timely solution that could ensure that quality healthcare services are available to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations.
‘‘NigComHealth is a significant milestone in our efforts to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians.
This platform will enable us to harness the benefits of technology and access a broader range of doctors and medical experts to deliver quality healthcare services, thereby ensuring that every Nigerian can access the care they need, when they need it.
‘‘With NigComHealth, we are bridging the gap in Healthcare access and promoting health equity across the country.’’
While commending the private sector partners who have collaborated with the government to make NigComHealth a reality, he urged all Nigerians to embrace this service and take advantage of the opportunities it presents to achieve our goal of promoting health equity throughout the country.
He called on stakeholders in the Health sector, both public and private to onboard into the initiative. It is an access to healthcare by a click.
On her part, the Ethnomet CEO, Ms. Garnette Weber, who joined the event virtually described the Tele 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.
‘‘It is part of our human experience regardless of where we live, economic status or culture. I have spent the past few months at my father’s bedside as he faced life threatening health challenges and the inevitable vulnerability of being a human.
‘‘One thing that makes a significant improvement in our experience as we navigate health issues and our pursuit of wellbeing is the care and advice from Health care professionals.’’
In his remarks, the Canadian High Commissioner, Mr. James Christoff described the NigComSat Virtual Hospital as a digital innovation and potential game changer in improving health outcomes, especially in underserved and remote areas.
According to him, the technology was developed with the vision and strategic objective of having over 80 federally and stated owned government hospitals co-exist on the platform.
He also said that the platform is also meant to provide digital health services to 1.7 million public sector workers and their families in Nigeria.
‘‘I see this collaboration as an exciting example of the endless possibilities that derive from the strong and growing bilateral trade between Canada and Nigeria. Nigeria is already Canada’s largest merchandise trading partner in Sub Saharan Africa, and the largest source of FDI into Canada from the region.
‘‘Beyond the trade links that bring our countries together, there is an ever-increasing number of personal ties that bind us, from over 85, 000 Nigerians living in Canada, to the over 12,000 Nigerian students currently studying there.
‘‘This collaboration on the virtual hospital is an example of, and builds on this robust relationship. It also symbolizes the convergence of several Canadian policy priorities: Our shared commitment to Sustainable Development Goal three (SDG 3) – promoting “Good Health and Well – being;” Our commitment to supporting initiatives that improve health outcomes in poor and undeserved communities, especially for women and girls; and, Increasing the participation of Canadian women in international trade by supporting women-owned and –led businesses to export.
‘‘The COVID19 pandemic demonstrated the potential of telemedicine to help lower the transmission of infectious diseases by reducing contact between patients and health professionals and providing medical access in communities without adequate health facilities. But, telemedicine can also help reduce government healthcare costs, extend reach and improve care management,’’ he said.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Engr. Tukur Mohammed Funtaua said Nigcomsat is collaborating with the Canadian firm, Ethnomet to not only digitize healthcare system but make Healthcare accessible and affordable to both urban and rural dwellers.
With Nigcomsat Satellite and broadband services, he said no part of the country would be out of reach.
He expressed his commitment to continuously bringing out innovations geared towards adding value to the lives of the citizens while leveraging on technology.
‘‘We are in full gear to help ease the onboarding of public & private hospitals & other medical services into NigComHealth.
Together we will ensure health reach on our fingertips.’’