Onybeuchi Chukwu says Nigeria must begin deploying information and
communication technology (ICT) in health delivery but insists it must
be driven by "a policy that's coherent, but more importantly
A national conference looking at
deploying information and communication technology has opened in
Declaring it open, the minister said
stakeholders must galvanise "action toward ensuring ICT is
employed in the best manner that will help to drive the health sector
toward" targets set in the National Health Development Plan.
traditional ways of doing things can no longer be considered
sufficient", he said.
Among new technologies in medicine is
mobile health, which allows the public get health information on
their mobile phones.
But the minister noted there were plans
to replace old plastic syringes with automatic ones next year.
He stressed that
deploying ICT in health could open up innovative ways to drive down
the cost of healthcare, improve education and training programmes,
accessibility and reliability of medical records. It could also make
disease control more efficient, Chukwu noted.
The health ministry is coordinating
with both the ministries of communications technology as well as
science and technology.
technology ministry has already launched a telemedicine project in
Lagos, according to the minister, Prof Ita Okon Bassey Ewa, noting
that a vibrant IT system could give a health sector "that
responds to needs".
Dr Andrew Mbewe of the World Health
Organisation said Nigeria needed to institute a national coordinating
mechanism for various e-health systems, coordinate investments in
e-health and health information systems from donors and partners as
well as assess appropriate policies at all levels.
(Source: AllAfrica News)