The Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Barrister (Mrs)Toyin Ojora Saraki has called for digitization of Personal Health Records (PHR) in Nigeria.
Barrister Saraki also revealed that Nigeria records 20,000 new born babies on daily basis and at the same time loses 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of child-bearing age.
Mrs. Saraki dropped this hint on Tuesday (May 15, 2018) in her keynote speech at the high-level Future of Health Summit, organised by Forbes and CNBC Africa held in Lagos.
She disclosed that the digitisation of the PHR would place Nigeria at the forefront of improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
“The digitisation of the PHR to inform similar nationwide efforts by qualified midwives would place Nigeria at the forefront of improving maternal and infant health outcomes. It would be fitting to achieve that here in Nigeria, where the idea for a home-based record was developed and has since been successfully deployed in countries like the UK and Japan” she added.
In her keynote address titled “The Role of Technology in Improving Mother and Child Healthcare in Nigeria – Raising Quality Standards For Health Care, Putting People First”, Mrs Saraki emphasised the need to digitise our health record with a view to proffering solution to the country’s health related challenges.
“Nigeria’s growth rate of 3.2 percent annually means that our nation will, according to USAID, reach a population of 440 million people by 2040. As a nation which is currently unable to keep its mothers and children safe and healthy, we must urgently seek solutions to the scale of the challenge we are about to face” she advocated.
Saraki who is the wife of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the UNICEF reports revealed that the rate of newborn deaths has improved to 37 per 1000 births saying that this national average hides the differences among the 36 states and the slow progress in some of the states.
She explained further that these figures are already startling and should constitute a national emergency.
The ICM Global Goodwill Ambassador stated further that the digital technology can, at its best, ensure quality and standards of care are improved, maintained and sustained.
“Without a public centralised health database for many families to rely upon and keep them informed of the necessary health processes in a child’s first thousand days of life, the WBFA’s Personal Health Record came as an innovation that placed this knowledge directly into the mother’s hands, and empowered her to provide, analyse and follow-up on her own data to be in control of her own situational analysis.
Mrs Saraki highlighted the video training deployed by the WBFA at Gwagalada School of Nursing and Midwifery in Abuja as an example of technology transforming healthcare development in Nigeria, and cited the WBFA’s training partnership with Johnson & Johnson and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as the global standard of ‘hands-on” teaching which is saving lives and helping mothers and infants to thrive.
Also speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria loses up to $1bn every year to medical tourism, as a result of the loss of faith in our medical system, at various levels.
He stressed the need to foster an enabling environment where knowledge reparation in health is promoted and Nigerian Health workers in diaspora can return home.