Embrace telemedicine to salvage mass exit of Nigerian doctors, FG told – Tribune Online

UNITED States-based Nigerian Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Dr Oyetokunbo Ibidapo-Obe Somorin, has asked the Federal Government to embrace the adoption of telemedicine to reduce the effects of the mass exodus of Nigerian medical practitioners to western nations.
Dr Somorin, in an interactive radio programme entitled: “Digital Life” on Nigeria Info, which aims to bring both Nigerians and the government closer to global technological realities, said embracing telemedicine will enable Nigerians, particularly those residing in rural communities, to have access to quality healthcare services. The session was entitled: “Tech Advancements and Telemedicine.”
According to her, this is because telemedicine thrives on the strength of technological advancements to connect people to medical doctors irrespective of their location.
Commenting on the need for the massive adoption of telemedicine across the country, Dr Ibidapo-Obe noted that the successes recorded nationwide during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic could be built upon to deepen health care infrastructure in Nigeria which could also serve as a stopgap to the mass exit of Nigerian doctors.
To further enhance the smooth adoption of telemedicine in Nigeria among residents in rural areas, Dr Ibidapo-Obe noted that the usage of toll-free numbers could further drive success rates across the nation.
She declared: “The outbreak of COVID-19 played an integral role in bringing the practice of telemedicine to the forefront across the globe, including in Nigeria. This is because telemedicine proved to be the most viable option for containing the risk levels of COVID-19.
“As such, to ensure telemedicine succeeds amongst those at the grassroots level in Nigeria, deliberate efforts must be put in place to ensure adequate resources are available to both the health care providers and the users of the telemedicine services nationwide irrespective of their social status.
“Over the years, access to data and smartphone devices has been a major challenge impeding the penetration of telemedicine in Nigeria. However, the creative use of toll-free lines could help proffer a sustainable solution that could enhance the usage of telemedicine solutions across the country.
“This is, therefore, a viable option the government can adopt as it enables those in the rural parts of the country to enjoy the benefits of telemedicine.”

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