The former Minister of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji, on Thursday, called on the Federal Government to establish an agency that will see to the deployment of Information and Communications Technology in Nigerian hospitals revealing that the government is yet to appreciate the use of technology in health care delivery.
Nnaji made the call while delivering a Keynote address at the first matriculation ceremony of Central Washington College, Enugu, held on Saturday, according to a statement by the President of the College, Prof Augustine Akube, and issued on Thursday.
He was quoted to have said that the Nigerian government had not seen tech as a vehicle that can drive health and provide good healthcare facilities for the citizenry.
“Presently, only a few teaching hospitals or medical centres have websites. The Nigerian government could perhaps support the use of ICT in health care delivery systems by establishing an agency that will see to the deployment of ICT in Nigerian hospitals. This should aim to ease delivery of health care by allowing staff and patient records to be kept in a database and accessed online.”
Speaking on the topic, “Nigeria at the Age of Digital Health: Possibilities and Dilemmas,” the chairman of Geometric Power, said that “Digital health-related education skills, knowledge, and competencies are needed at all levels of healthcare to fast-track equipping the current health workforce (health workforce and health ICT workforce) with the needed skills, knowledge, and competencies to successfully implement the Nigerian digital health strategy beyond 2022.”
“The world in which we live today has been changed by the advancement of digital technology. It has the potential to transform radically the delivery of health care and to assist in defining strategies to address future health problems.
“In line with the Government’s goal of providing Universal Health Coverage to the citizenry, the use of digital health and ICT as a tool cannot be overemphasised in negating all the hurdles to guarantee success in this regard,” he said.
In his address, the President/Founder of the institution, Professor Augustine Akubue, said he established the College because of the unwholesomeness and glaring decay in Nigeria’s educational system, especially in the areas of nursing/ health sciences and technology.
“This is made worse by the incessant industrial crisis between the Government and academics/ professionals in tertiary institutions which portend great danger to the society,” he said.
Akubue, a medical doctor and a consultant Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, with the World Health Organisation, stated that statistics had shown that in the face of the increasing number of Nigerians seeking tertiary education in the last decade, only about 42 per cent of them could gain such admissions.
“The Central Washington College was birthed as an umbrella College of Nursing/Health Sciences and Technology which is committed to adding value to our educational system through purposeful contributions that would build a coterie of health forces with specialised skills in line with global practices.
Consequently, our drive to provide these specialised services as a notable private higher institution of learning is considered timely and welcome because it is one of the sure antidotes to the daily increasing rate of capital flight and brain drain, especially in Nigeria’s health sector.”
200 students matriculated during the matriculation ceremony held at the college auditorium.