Nigeria inaugurates e-health solution, in partnership with Canada’s Ethnomet

By : Adoni Conrad Quenum

Date : jeudi, 25 mai 2023 13:22

Last updated : jeudi, 25 mai 2023 13:28

Nigeria, with its 218 million population, needs 363,000 doctors to reach the WHO’s recommended one doctor for every 600 residents. With the ratio becoming less attainable, authorities have decided to leverage the power of tech tools. 

Last week, the Nigerian Federal government inaugurated NigComHealth, an e-health solution. The solution was developed in partnership with NigComSat, a Nigerian ICT and telecommunications company, Sawtrax, a Nigerian software company, and Ethnomet, a Canadian health technology start-up. The aim is to provide people, especially those in rural and remote areas, with better access to health care.

“The doctor-patient ratio in the country is getting worse, with a physician attending to more than 5,000 patients. This represents a stark contrast with WHO’s recommendation of one doctor to 600 patients. With 218 million people to cater to, Nigeria requires at least 363,000 additional doctors to meet this target,” which NigComHealth is expected to achieve, according to Professor Salahu Junaidu, the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. 

For several years now, the country has been the hotspot for the tech revolution in Africa.  In the health sector, the number of healthtech solutions is multiplying and increasingly becoming a viable alternative to people with low or no access to health services. The solutions contribute to the achievement of the third sustainable development goal, which aims to ensure health and well-being for all by guaranteeing, among other things, universal access to medical coverage and health services.

However, despite the efforts, e-health solutions are not yet accessible to most rural populations. According to the GSMA, Sub-Saharan Africa had a 28% internet penetration rate in 2020. In addition, Nigeria particularly has the highest internet exclusion index in the world, according to a study published by World Data Lab in 2022. According to the same source, about 103 million people (out of a population of about 218 million) are "Internet poor," meaning they cannot afford the minimin Internet bundle. 

In that context, if no additional measures are taken, NigComHealth, seen by politicians as the tool to resolve the desperate health access issue, may be just another healthtech solution in the Nigerian tech landscape. 

Adoni Conrad Quenum


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