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Abia introduces telemedicine to make medicare more accessible - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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Abia introduces telemedicine to make medicare more accessible by katty : March 10, 2018, 02:17:42 PM
Abia State government has introduced telemedicine in the state with the aim of making healthcare delivery more accessible to the citizens.

Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. Nursesarena.com The approach has been through a striking evolution in the last decade, and it is becoming an increasingly important part of healthcare infrastructure in developed countries of the world, especially United States of America.

Telemedicine involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit. Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, specialist consultation and a host of other clinical services that can be provided remotely via secure video and audio connections.

With telemedicine, patients will have less time away from work, won’t incur travel expenses or time; will have less interference with child or elder care responsibilities, as the case may be. With telemedicine, patients will have their privacy and would not be exposed to other potentially contagious patients nursesarena.com

Introducing the innovation to a large audience at the just concluded South-East Stakeholders forum on ease of doing business, in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu affirmed that the state had gone digital on certain things n.

According to Governor Ikpeazu, Abia State today, without sounding modest, is the first place in Nigeria and Africa where primary healthcare centres are driven by internet.

The telemedicine could be accessed through a scratch card, which would enable residents and visitors to the state access Medicare. A patient is expected to scratch the card and key-in the pin obtainable in the card to put a call across to a Medical Doctor, who will immediately attend to him or her via telephone.

If the patient needs to go to a primary healthcare centre, the doctor will send him or her to the nearest health centre.

If also the patient needs to undergo a medical test, the doctor will recommend a diagnostic centre nearest to the patient, while the diagnostic centre is expected to forward the result of the test to the doctor and the conversation continues.

Governor Ikpeazu’s administration has also established a State Emergency Healthcare scheme.

The essence of the emergency healthcare scheme is to ensure that victims of health emergencies access healthcare by dialling a dedicated number – 112. And once the call centre is reached, such victim gets hope of being cared for.

Governor Ikpeazu has, out of hard work, attracted funding from funding agencies, hence the state has benefitted from two of such funds – Save One Million Lives Programme and Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
It is the intention of Ikpeazu to improve on quality healthcare delivery, aimed at making Abia a medical tourism destination, as well as improve on maternal mortality and infant mortality indices.

The overall goal here is to improve on the life expectancy in Abia, since life expectancy in Nigeria is between 53 and 55. The interest to improve maternal and infant mortality indices in the State should be applauded.

In line with its policy to improve healthcare in Abia State, Governor Ikpeazu, recently, commissioned the newly rehabilitated Aba General Hospital, a secondary healthcare facility that has been moribund for seven years.

The new Aba General Hospital, equipped with modern facilities, is to serve as a referral health facility for the primary healthcare centres established in all communities in Aba and its environs.

The Aba General Hospital, which is regarded as the sole of Aba, apart from providing healthcare for residents and visitors to the city, also trains nurses. It also served as a take-off point for the State teaching hospital-Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH).

The story of the hospital began to nosedive when ABSUTH moved to its permanent site at Abayi area of Aba and all attention moved to the new facility, leaving the general hospital to rot.

The reopening of the hospital holds a lot of nostalgia for the residents.

According to Ikpeazu,  “This hospital is associated with all kinds of relief, for pregnant women, children, from 0-5 years, the elderly, the aged, victims of road traffic accidents, victims of industrial accidents and people with all kinds of illnesses, the place to go to as it where was Aba General Hospital.

“It was safe, secured and renowned for best medical practices.

“However, a few years ago, the story changed, what we saw 10 years ago was that we have backlog of students, who have come here to train as nurses in their general nursing programme and probably midwives in the midwifery programme, abandoned for 10 years without being licensed to practice.

“What it meant was that a little girl, who entered school here, hopping that after 3 years, she will become a nurse, ended up celebrating her 28th birthday, without a certificate of a licensing authority.

“But to the glory of God, within the first 18 months of this administration, we were able to return and restore the capacity and credibility of this nursing school to the status that we have cleared the backlog of those waiting for their licensing and has continued to train nurses.”

The governor wondered what Aba residents will do, if the General Hospital is out of service and applauded Dr. Ijeoma Nduka, chief executive, Health Management and her team for their resilience, which he observed led to the rehabilitation of the hospital.

“So, it is more to their credit that we are commissioning this hospital today. But I see a tomorrow for this place, better than what we have ever seen before. I see a tomorrow where people will run into this place and God will heal them, I see a day when pregnant women will not have to pay so much to give birth to their children, safe and healthy.

“I look forward to a day when aged men and women will come here to access healthcare and get well again. I look forward to a day when a trader, who has headache, will rush to the General Hospital, access medicare and go back to his/her shop, healthy.

The Governor continued, “I look forward to a day, when this facility will have the best medical equipment you can find anywhere in the world and handled by our citizens in Diaspora, who are desirous of coming back home to serve their people. “This is our desire and we will not rest until we achieve it.”

For Dr. John Akukanna, state’s commissioner for health, the governor’s vision is to ensure that secondary healthcare system in Abia State is strengthened.
“He wants to make secondary health system strengthened, such that primary healthcare centres, have proper referral healthcare centres. And today, Aba is the first to be given such attention.

The Abia Health Commissioner also revealed that the same facility would be replicated in the three senatorial zones of the state.

According to him, “Aba residents and environs yawned that this hospital should be opened for you and now you have it. So, Aba as it is now has full complements of primary healthcare, secondary and tertiary healthcare systems.

He urged Aba residents to patronize the hospital and complain where things are not working properly.

To strengthen healthcare delivery in Abia State, the current administration in the State has recruited medical personnel and is partnering with organizations to provide medical equipment in the State owned hospitals.

The State Government has taken delivery of some medical equipment from Project CURE, a United States of America (USA) based organisation.

Project CURE, donates medical supplies and equipment to developing countries.

Governor Ikpeazu, on tour General Hospitals in the State, explained that the exercise was aimed at identifying the various needs of each General Hospital in the State.


Accompanied by Bev Sloan, Project CURE, representative, Ikpeazu stated that all the General hospitals need attention in terms of man-power, medical equipment, furniture, among other.

The Abia State governor, disclosed that the State government has plans to recruit medical personnel that would be deployed to various General hospitals in the State.

He disclosed that the State is partnering Project CURE, for the supply of medical equipment and consumables and thanked the Hospital Management Board for their commitment in spite of the numerous challenges and encouraged them to continue.

Source : Business Day

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