The Nigerian government has said it will digitalise the country’s healthcare system to achieve better health outcomes.
The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Tunji Alausa, while speaking at a press briefing on the ministry’s agenda for the sector, said digitalising the health system will help facilitate accurate data to improve activities in the sector.
Mr Alausa said the health system requires accurate and valid data that can be trusted locally and internationally.
“We need to begin to make sure that the data we collect are accurate, and they are validated, they can be trusted, internationally, and locally and can be used to deliver care to our people,” he said.
“And then once you have validated data that you can trust, you can begin to see the indices where you are getting better, where you are doing well, and where you are not doing well. Then you can recheck your interventions to improve those outcomes.”
He said as part of the digitalisation process, the government will roll out a national electronic medical record where all primary health centres (PHC) and hospitals can be on the same platform.
“Then as we move into the future, we will encourage each state government to use the same platform,” the minister added.
Speaking at the briefing, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate, said there is a lot of potential for improvement for Nigerian citizens to be healthier.
Mr Pate said there are many issues in the health sector including leadership problems which can be addressed when everybody works together to achieve a particular goal.
“We are blessed to have about 400,000 health workers who are working under difficult circumstances to deliver quality health services to the people. We appreciate them, but there is a lot more we can do in the health sector,” he said.
“We will do this together…the federal government, state government, MDAs, as well as the private sector.”
He said the government will also strengthen the regulatory capacity of health institutions like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Mr Pate said the ministry will also ensure health security to prevent and contain disease outbreaks.
Mr Pate noted that the ministry would be working to rejig the research institutions in the country.
He said there are lots of professors in the country who lack adequate funding and resources to support their work.
“We will unleash our clinical research. We will put more money into research which will make us more dependent on our pharmaceuticals,” he said.
Mr Alausa, the junior minister, said the health system will become well regulated and research institutes will work together.
“We have a lot of research institutions but everybody is working independently. We will rejig our research institutions, make them work collaboratively, and get them to do what they are meant to do,” he said.