The Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT) has launched the NigComHealth, tele-health platform that will ensure easy access to health services for Nigerians especially the underserved and those in remote areas through digital technology.
The virtual health platform was the brainchild of the partnership between NIGCOMSAT and Canadian firms, ETNOMET and SAWTRAX. It provides a platform for Nigerians to book appointments, receive medical advice and recommendation, and consult with physicians and other healthcare consultants from the comfort of their homes, offices, schools and localities.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Prof. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, who unveiled the platform on Monday in Abuja, said it is a timely solution that will ensure that quality healthcare services are available to all Nigerians irrespective of their locations.
Represented by the Chief of Staff to the Ministry, Prof Salahu Jinadu, the Minister noted that the platform will also help to reduce the level of medical tourism by Nigerians, adding that quality medical practitioners will be available within Nigeria and across the globe.
“Nigeria spends between 1.2 and 1.6 billion dollars on medical tourism yearly. The NigComHealth programme can significantly reduce this medical tourism since the platform will help to provide easy access to first class medical practitioners for all Nigerians via NigComHealth digital platform,” he said.
He said that data from Nigerian Health Registry showed that the country has a total of 39, 914 operational hospitals and clinics made up of private and public hospitals across the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care. He lamented that Nigeria has not met the world ratio of one doctor to 600 patients as the country currently has one doctor to 5000 patients. He said further that Nigeria requires 363,000 additional doctors to meet this target, stressing that the NigComhealth can address this matter.
The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Mohammed Lawal Funtua, while appreciating the stakeholders, assured of more commitment to bring out innovations towards adding value to the citizens while leveraging on technology.
“We are in full gear to help ease the burden of public & private hospitals and other medical services into NigComHealth. Together we will ensure health reaches our fingertips,” he said.
Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, James Christophe in his remarks, said the technology was developed to assist over 1.7 million public sector workers in Nigeria, which he said will strengthen the bilateral ties between Nigeria and Canada. He added that it will save cost and reduce risks.
Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), who spoke on behalf of other CEOs of the Ministry, said that the development is a remarkable milestone in the nation’s stride for a digital Nigeria.
He said “launching this app means the democratization of the healthcare sector’’.