5 Reasons Why Digital Health Will Make Nigeria Healthy Again!
The State of Nigeria’s Healthcare sector is currently on it’s all time low with the president of the country Pres. Muhammadu Buhari choosing to go overseas for medical treatment rather than at home. I am enthusiastic about the role Digital health could play in making the health sector better. I am fortunate enough to be working on two healthcare startups and I would like to share some innovative solutions that have the potentials to change our healthcare sector.
1. Digital Health Can Increase Access To Care In Nigeria
We have some startups solving this. Check out Kangpe, Hudibia, Fitnessnaija or my soon to be launched platform Medcil. These startups are creating an increased access to specialist doctors for people in rural areas. They are also leading to increased physicians utilization rates as doctors can use their free time to speak to a patient on these platforms. we have gotten to a point where you just open an app and type in your symptoms and a brief medical history then someone will attend to you. With the increasing smartphone penetration rate in Nigeria, this is one area to look forward to.
2. Digital Health can reduce Maternal/Child Mortality Ratio
The Maternal and child mortality rate in Nigeria is alarming. Foreign organizations like the Gates foundation are doing their best to support efforts in tackling this issue through grants. Digital platforms like Safermom and Mobicure are key players in this area. Through these platforms, proper care can reach pregnant and nursing women thus helping reduce the maternal and child mortality rate in the country.
3. Digital Can Improve Our Medical Education
Learning tools are important to medical students and most importantly, having access to mentors who have walked through their path. Through Digital, Medical students can not only have visiual materials to learn from but can also reach out to professionals in various medical fields to mentor them. Medenhaz offers clinical reference databases, standard treatment guidelines and continues medical education. These would help improve our medical education. Then we have Dokilink which currently cater for medical professionals but I see them creating a room for medical students soon. But still, Doctors undergoing residency can seek advice/help from specialist doctors on the platform.
4. Digital Can Improve Patient Safety
Since the time of Hippocrates, Patients safety has been the concern of medical professionals. In Nigeria, we have heard about different safety concerns ranging from patients not being treated on time to patients taking the wrong medications. We recently heard about the case of a fresh graduate that died during her National service program because of safety issues. With platforms like Medsaf and Meditell, Fake Medications and overdosing of medications can be prevented. Expecting more innovations and research around this area.
5. Digital Can Bring About Coverage For All
With the Universal goal of health coverage for all and Nigeria’s Health Insurance scheme failure by covering only 4 percent of the masses till date, Digital will play a huge role in covering the masses. We have seen the rise of HMOs(Health Maintenance Organisations) but yet to see them really leverage technology. We would see the rise of startups using Blockchain technology for health insurance but for now, one startup innovating in that space is Coveruz.
There is hope for Nigeria’s health sector through Digital. All stakeholders should come together and push the use of Digital in the health sector. One thing for sure, in years to come, Digital will totally transform the healthcare industry in Nigeria.