NMA Seeks to Incorporate ICT in Health Care Delivery

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Jonathan Eze

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has identified the need to enhance healthcare delivery system in the country through the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and ensure its full deployment in the medical sector.

At a breakfast meeting held recently in Lagos organised by the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), themed: Improving Quality Outcomes through Health Information Technology, the National Chairman of the NMA, Dr. Francis Adedayo Fajuyile, noted that the traditional ways of delivering health care has led to thousands of death and serious injuries each year in the past.

He said most health care centres in Nigeria are predominantly on paper based health information system. The record retrievals and application of information technology are still at the rudimentary level in most health care centres in the country.

In his key note address, he revealed that the gamut of the emerging 21st century medical technology is a recent development and hence should be adopted to ensure proper health records of patients, reporting all health diagnosis to the government data base and strict confidentiality of disease management.

Fajuyile maintained the need to encourage local capacity building in the deployment of information technology in the health sector. He added that there’s need for stringent legislation in the country that would be tasked to monitor the regulatory framework and ensure that patient security is properly managed.

Speaking at the event, the President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NACC), Mr. Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, said that the topic is significant in many way; ”It is becoming increasingly clear that the traditional ways of solving health problems is becoming outdated so there is need for quality investment in information technology in the health care sector to improve healthcare delivery in the country.

He noted that the effective use of communication and technology by strategically incorporating ICT tools into health care delivery is a great potential to improve health care quality and safety, ensure public health service delivery on information and facilitate clinical and consumer decision-making to build health skills and knowledge.

He further explained that lack of adequate funding in the medical sector has deepened the crisis in health-care delivery in developing countries, particularly Nigeria.

According to him, with the significant growth of Internet access in urban areas, health-care workers can adopt its usage for communication, access to relevant health-care information, and international collaboration.

Also speaking at the event, President, Health care Foundation of Nigeria, Mrs. Clare Omatseye, noted that there’s a direct correlation between health and wealth.

She said the moribund health care centres in the country has a direct catastrophic effect on families and infant mortality. According to her, if we don’t get things right in the healthcare sector by doing a prognosis of our health care challenges in the country, then we may need a life support in the medical sector.

Omatseye disclosed at the interactive session that seven doctors leave the country in a week to pick up better jobs in diaspora and this has resulted to the brain drain syndrome in the medical sector.

She added that Nigeria lose 1 billion dollars on medical tourism in a year which is almost the same amount budgeted for healthcare.

She further stated that the Human Capital Index in the country is poor due to lack of adequate health care system for the growing populace and this has resulted to the shrinking GDP and per capital income of the country.