The Edo State Government has said the telemedicine programme to be launched on Tuesday, in partnership with the Association of Nigeria Physicians in the Americas (ANPA), will improve access to quality healthcare for residents across the state.
Addressing journalists, Edo State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Obehi Akoria, said the telemedicine services will be available across the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the state.
“There will be an official launch of this programme on Tuesday. The launch is to tell the world that it has been tested and proven that this is possible. We have people who have benefited from it.
“Doctors abroad sit in their offices; we will schedule patients for them to see. Our nurses will remind them that they have an appointment. The doctors in America through digital platforms talk to the patients, asking questions, making decisions and at the end, give out prescriptions and go home with the medicine which is free.
“Now, we are scaling; we are using this place for now. We are moving to Ugbor PHC and from there, we will gradually scale to other places. If there is a problem in Auchi or Ibillo, the same way somebody stays in America and talks to someone in Benin and sorts out a problem that will be the same done in Auchi.
“They don't have to travel on the road and risk their lives because the technology is there. This is about deploying the internet to deliver healthcare. As it is right now, this is being done on a purely volunteers’ basis, a free service courtesy of the government of Edo State. The government is investing in the hardware, computers, internet and solar panels required for this job."
The commissioner continued: "The first phase was the proof of concept phase. We have passed that stage, it is working seamlessly. We are at the pilot phase and we need to strengthen it. The next phase is for us to scale, and it will be outside Benin so that overtime, we can go outside.
“We are volunteers. As this thing goes, it will be a whole department on its own, where we will now have to employ dedicated staff who will be troubleshooting across the state, helping us solve issues by deploying technology."
“If after examination, there is need for surgery, the patients will be arranged in batches and the surgeons will be booked to come from the USA to conduct the surgery in Nigeria in the comfort of their families. This is a win-win situation for everybody”, she added.