‘ICT Contributes to Improved Healthcare Delivery’

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Amby Uneze in Owerri

The invention of Information Communication Technology (ICT) has contributed immensely to Healthcare delivery in the world.
Indeed, it had contributed to the feat achieved by medical personnel in the diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases in Nigeria, according to speakers and experts in the field of medicine and science.

Highlighting the huge contributions of technology in the promotion of healthcare delivery during the 1stInternational Congress on Health Sciences and Technology organised by the School of Health Technology (SOHT) of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, (FUTO), with the Theme: The Role of Technology in Healthcare Delivery’, experts said that healthcare delivery would have been a mirage without the invention of technology.

In his keynote paper titled: ‘Harnessing the Power of Integrated Technology Innovation for Effective Delivery for Healthcare Services’, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Professor Bartho Okolo traced the advent of science and technology, its application to healthcare delivery and the overall benefits to mankind.

He observed that the ultimate aim of healthcare delivery was to provide the right therapy, which could take a variety of forms, ranging from counselling, life style changes, drug administration, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, adding that like diagnosis, disease therapy had benefited from enormous advances in technology.

According to him, Therapists now take advantage of available technologies to administer treatment, noting also that technology can lead to the production of new therapies (new drugs), improved surgical techniques (laser surgery), improved speed of therapy as well as wider access to treatment.

“Technology could also enable patients to be treated remotely as in telemedicine. In addition, biomedical technology makes it possible to create prosthesis (artificial parts) for a range of conditions. The extent by which technology has improved healthcare delivery can be best appreciate by taking a look at the various milestones in the development of medical technologies: magnifying glass, eyeglass, stethoscope, anesthesia, x-ray, laproscopy, dialysis, mechanical heart, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), kidney transplant, artificial heart, liver transplant, heart transplant, insulin pump, synthetic blood, etc”, he said.

Okolo, however, submitted that Nigeria seemed to be lagging behind in attaining certain milestones in the healthcare sector, stating that Nigeria’s failure to engender a knowledge-based domestic economy had been attributed to critical shortages of appropriate skilled human capital resource in different fields.

He challenged the congress participants to optimise the opportunity to help deliver healthier and longer lives for our citizens as that can be done by ensuring that quality healthcare services are available to the people by embracing integrated technology innovation in their operations.

The Congress President and Dean, School of Health Technology, FUTO, Professor I.N.S. Dozie had highlighted the objectives of the meeting, which was to create an inclusive platform to discuss research issues emanating from all disciplines in the health sciences and health technology including; biomedical techno logy, dental technology, prosthetics and orthotics, public health, environmental health, optometry, anatomy, physiology, medical laboratory science, medical rehabilitation, environmental technology, nursing science as well as issues on water and sanitation, hygiene and infection control, etc.

Dozie noted that before now there had not been any single forum for convocation of ideas on health sciences and health technology in Nigeria, stressing that it became imperative to create an umbrella platform for viable intercourse of ideas in the unique areas of scientific enterprise.

The three-day intellectual meeting, which took place at FUTO’s Hall of Excellence featured experts and speakers in the field of science and medicine included; a former acting Vice Chancellor of Imo State University, Professor B.E.B. Nwoke; Professor Goddy Chuba Okoye; Dr. O.J. Olubodun of the University of Lagos, Dr. K.I. Nkuma-Udah who was also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), and a host of other paper presenters.