Our health care sector is in a shambles and certainly needs some sort of revival. A large number of government-owned hospitals are not functioning properly with most services non-existent. Drugs are absent in most of these hospitals with the patients poorly treated. Many of these hospitals do not keep proper records and lack the much needed medical equipment to effectively provide quality medical services. Some of the medical equipment and facilities available in some of these hospitals are not being put to use by the medical personnel because they are not trained to make use of them as they were given to them by foreign donors. It is quite obvious that the health care sector in Nigeria is still very much behind in the use of the ICT for effective service delivery.
Many of our political office holders and government officials in the higher cadre and wealthy Nigerians are also not helping in this regard. At the slightest cold these sets of people catch, they are quick to hop on the next available plane to India, Germany, the U.K, the USA, etc, to receive treatment from their well-equipped hospitals. These foreign treatments, of course, involve huge capital flight from Nigeria to these other countries, thus, boosting their medical tourism. Recent reports put the value of medical tourism at three billion dollars which is unbelievable by every stretch of imagination. The other interesting aspect is that a number of facilities exist locally that enable Indian doctors to provide various medical services to Nigerian patients using state of the art ICT facilities. In reality, who gets to pay them? It is the patients. And the figure may be far higher than three billion dollars, except of course this aspect isn’t classified as medical tourism.
Be that as it may, my primary concern is how technology can be used to improve the delivery of quality health services to the Nigerian people. The fact as of today is that at the heart of delivering top quality medical services is modern technology and there are tons of innovative tech products already being used by medical personnel across the world, which unfortunately our doctors do not have access to. It continues to beat my imagination how, over the years, our leaders at various levels have been going out there and seeing how effectively these foreign hospitals are run, yet, fail to replicate same back home! This is, of course, the same with other aspects of our lives such as education, transportation and agriculture. — Finish Reading on the Punch Website