The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), in collaboration with Ethnomet and Sawtrax, has officially launched NIGCOMHEALTH, a telehealth service platform which enables Nigerians to conveniently book appointments, seek medical advice, and consult with healthcare professionals from their homes, offices, schools, and local communities, in Abuja.
The launch event has in attendance high-profiled dignitaries, including the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr James Christoff, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Deputy Governor, Kingsley Obiora, the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Sahalu Junaid, the Managing Director, NIGCOMSAT LTD, Engineer Tukur Lawal, the Director General of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Professor MN Sambo, and members of the National House of Assembly, etc.
The telehealth platform, NIGCOMHEALTH, unveiled by Professor Sahalu Junaidu, the representative for the Minister of Communications & Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim, is expected to provide digital health services to over 1.7 million individuals in Nigeria and transform how underserved and remote areas access medical services.
According to the Canadian High Commissioner, Mr James Christoff, NIGCOMHEALTH, regarded as Africa’s first digital healthcare platform, is a revolutionary and transformative innovation that will potentially serve and aid the country’s healthcare infrastructure. In addition, the Canadian commissioner highlighted the vision to establish and incorporate over 80 federal and state-owned hospitals on the NIGCOMHEALTH platform.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ethnomet, Garnette Weber, emphasising the importance of telehealth services as a proven strategy to meet the growing demand for healthcare resources, praised the Nigerian government’s dedication to utilising cutting-edge technologies for high-quality, widely accessible healthcare nationwide.
“The continuous increase in the global population has resulted in a growing demand for scarce healthcare human resources, which has become a global concern for governments. Telehealth has proven effective in addressing these healthcare challenges, as indicated in the Commonwealth Fund’s International Health Policy Survey of Primary Care Physicians. In 2022, practitioners from ten countries reported that 52% of encounters would have been clinically appropriated through video interactions with patients. Thus, telehealth services improve health resource utilisation and access to care,” she stated.
Furthermore, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, represented Professor Sahalu Junaidu, highlighted the transformative potential of NIGCOMHEALTH in revolutionising the healthcare sector in Nigeria.
“As we are all aware, compared to other developed nations, our healthcare system is still underdeveloped in telemedicine, outreach, and accessibility to quality healthcare services for many of our communities, especially those residing in rural and remote areas. To bridge this gap, there is an urgent need to leverage disruptive technology to improve access to healthcare services and the availability of quality medical practitioners within Nigeria and across the globe. Therefore, the NIGCOMHEALTH Platform is a timely solution that could ensure the availability of quality healthcare services to all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations,” he said.
In addition, the Minister stated that NIGCOMHEALTH, as a telehealth service, will serve to reduce the burden of physical hospital visits while enhancing the overall quality of healthcare for citizens. Moreso, the launch of NIGCOMHEALTH aligns with the Nigerian government’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a digital Nigeria and the vision to promote digital transformation and boost economic activities in the country.
The platform will ensure an inclusive, more effective healthcare system in Nigeria and increase the ability of healthcare providers to provide high-quality treatments by utilising technology to reach patients in far-off locations with little financial outlay and physical strain.
According to the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT, Engineer Tukur Lawal, NIGCOMHEALTH will give Nigerians the access to receive world-class and inexpensive professional services, regardless of their geographic location. In addition, Engineer Tukur Lawal guaranteed that the provided healthcare services would be affordable and inclusive, including for Nigerians without smartphones.
Finally, Engineer Tukur urged Nigerians to sign up and leverage the services while encouraging medical professionals in the public and private sectors to join the platform and help Nigeria’s health sector expand.
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