A United Kingdom-based Nigerian medical practitioner, Dr Funmi Adewara, says 60 percent of medical conditions can be resolved through telemedicine.
Adewara made this known on Sunday at a virtual seminar on Facebook, sponsored by AreaDoc, a telehealth platform developed by Monitor Healthcare Limited, a Lagos-based medical technology and telecommunication firm.
Adewara is also the Chief Executive Officer of an international integrated TeleHealth firm, MobiHealth.
“People need to know that telemedicine offers the opportunity for them to be able to improve their health by gaining access to quality care that they need and within the comfort of their homes.
“Just the same way you are doing mobile banking, online flight bookings and other social media activities, you can also improve your health, using technology,” she said.
According to her, telemedicine has the potential of transforming the country’s healthcare system and helping the country to ‘leap frog.’
The medical practitioner also said that telemedicine provided the opportunity for the country to bridge the gap in the system, including health workers’ supply gap and counterfeit medicine, among other challenges.
Adewara, however, noted that Nigeria was very far away from the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard as far as the doctor-patient ratio was concerned.
“Nigeria currently has a population of over 200 million, with about 40,000 doctors, 90 percent of whom are on their way out of the country.
“So we have 72,000 registered doctors, but more than half of us are outside the country, and nine in 10 of those who are left behind are on their way out.
“What telemedicine can do is to help to mobilise doctors, whether it is from the urban areas or in the Diaspora, to help people’s access to healthcare,” she said.
Adewara said that a lot still needed to be done in terms of investing in digital infrastructure to be able to tap into the current digital revolution and drive its adoption.
She urged the federal and state governments to integrate telemedicine into the health insurance scheme to enable the ordinary man access and afford healthcare.
“We need to leverage on the explosive mobile technology growth in terms of our healthcare financing model.
“Nigeria spends $8.8 billion on airtime and data. So why can’t we use that to attain universal health coverage so that for every mobile subscriber, there is a deduction that goes toward their healthcare?” she queried.
In his remarks, the Chief Executive Director, Monitor Healthcare Limited, Dr Femi Ogunremi, said that telemedicine was key, particularly at this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
“With telemedicine, home visits can be done, if needed. You can have prescriptions and blood samples delivered at home.
“There are partners who provide these services, including AreaDoc platform and even those in the remote places can tap into the services of specialists in urban areas without physically going to see them,” Ogunremi said