Dr. Oyetokunbo Ibidapo-Obe Somorin, a Nigerian assistant professor of family medicine who lives and works in the US, has challenged the Federal Government of Nigeria to heavily engage in telemedicine in order to stop the outflow of Nigerian doctors to Western countries.
Ibidapo-Obe made the request during “Digital Life,” an interactive radio show that attempts to educate Nigerians and the government about contemporary technological realities.
The session, titled “Tech Advancements and Telemedicine,” included scholarly discussions about the necessity for the government at all levels to embrace the practice of telemedicine in order to give Nigerians, particularly those living in rural communities, access to high-quality healthcare services.
Ibidapo-Obe emphasized the urgent need for widespread telemedicine adoption by pointing out that progress made during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak may be expanded upon to strengthen Nigeria’s healthcare system and act as a stopgap for the large exodus of medical professionals.
She said: “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 healthcare providers and the users of the telemedicine services nationwide irrespective of their social status,” she added.
She advised that, in order to facilitate the widespread use of telemedicine in rural areas, the government set up some toll-free numbers that can increase success rates across the country.
She cites that over the years, access to data and smartphone devices has been a major problem hindering the spread of telemedicine in Nigeria as the justification for such deployment.