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FG inaugurates c’ttee on digitalization of health sector

The federal government has inaugurated an implementation committee for the digitalization of the country’s health system. Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Abuja, the Coordinating…

The federal government has inaugurated an implementation committee for the digitalization of the country’s health system.

Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Abuja, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, said the ‘Nigeria Digital in Health Initiative’ would improve patients’ health outcomes, and reduce costs of care by the providers at all levels.

He said it would leverage the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic (EHR) Health Record platforms to increase the engagement of Nigerians with their health and healthcare providers.

 The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, said the ‘Nigeria’s Digital in Health Initiative’ would reposition the digital health environment to include data gathering, data repository, data servicing and service regulation.

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He said there is currently lack of uniform data collection and management which has presented the Nigerian healthcare system with numerous challenges. 

He said, “It has limited the development of the health industry, weakened our decision-making and resulted in inefficient use of resources. This has made it difficult to have a comprehensive view of the healthcare environment.”

Minister of State said the country’s healthcare system suffers from data fragmentation as only a small number of private institutions and federal institutions use EMR and EHR platforms to keep track of patients’ data, promote research, provide treatment, and manage operations and resources; while the majority still relies on rudimentary paper-based methods.  

He further said the implementation committee would midwife data policy, regulation, repository management and serve as an ombudsman to establish a national digital health environment that will support the scale-up of digital health interventions such as national unified EMR platform in the first instance.

The 20-member committee, which is headed by Dr Alausa, has members drawn from the various health agencies. They include Dr Eden Adzogenu as vice chairman, Dr Muyi Aina, Dr Kelechi Ohiri, Dr Gbenga Ijadola and Dr Ibrahim Waziri among others as members.

The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Daju Kachollom, said the Nigeria Digital in Health Initiative is in line with the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) initiative led by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) which aims to transform the country’s civil service by digitizing records and automating processes. 

“As the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Development seeks to address the numerous health issues, digital solutions and data have been identified as “powerful accelerators” relevant for the transformation of health systems and the delivery of universal health coverage to the population we serve, “ she added.

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