Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Communication Technology has teamed up with the Federal Ministry of Health in an effort to drive the country’s healthcare system to become more ICT-focused, which will in return benefit the healthcare system and make it more accessible to Nigerians.
“Our traditional ways of doing things can no longer be accepted. There is need to find innovative ways to bring down costs in the health care delivery. Whereas the traditional systems of health care delivery have been known over the years to be tainted with increasing costs with Primary Health Care,” said Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu during the opening of the National Conference on ICT in Health.
Chukwu highlighted the fact that ICT can play a major role in the healthcare system. “ICT has potential, if properly deployed, to lower costs of health care, while opening up new modalities for patient treatment and welfare. We will need to deploy ICT to increase accessibility to health care especially for those that are vulnerable or in the remote areas that are mostly in need of health care.”
But using ICT to open up new avenues won’t be sufficient, as Chukwu stressed that it needs to be implemented to improve the current state. “Equally paramount is to ensure that we deploy ICT to improve the quality of health care delivery. The time is very much ripe to have Electronic Medical Record system in all Federal Health institutions.”
David Okello, Country Director for the World Health Organisation, echoed the same sentiments. “The role of ICT is integral to achieve the national need as functional health information systems depend on harmonised and interoperable data elements and appropriate use of ICTs.”
Charlie Fripp – Acting Online editor