“This conference is to help stakeholders to look at what opportunities are there. The way we are doing things right now is not sustainable. We need to take healthcare to every single Nigerian and make sure that every life counts and harnessing mobile technology is one of those big opportunities,” Omatseye said in her opening statement. The conference, themed Digital Technology for Healthcare, took place at the Medic West Africa Exhibition in Lagos. It attracted over 200 participants from the public and private sector and focused on the disruptive power of the mobile phone in making healthcare more inclusive.
In Nigeria, PharmAccess has teamed up with the Lagos State Government in a pilot that uses mobile technology to bring affordable health insurance to the informal sector. This pilot builds on extensive experience gained by PharmAccess in Kenya with the M-TIBA digital platform, set up with Safaricom and CarePay. CarePay is a Kenyan company that administers conditional healthcare payments between funders, patients and healthcare providers.
To discuss the opportunities of mobile technology, PharmAccess organized a workshop themed “The role of digital technology in disrupting health systems for social equity.” The workshop kicked off with the Joep Lange Institute documentary “The Great Escape.” This 15-minute film shows how countries in Africa can leverage on digital technologies to improve access to healthcare, which can drive exponential change for millions of people, helping them realize their Great Escape.
Professor Khama Rogo, who chaired the workshop and is featured in the film, emphasized the need to leverage on mobile technology to lead Africa towards the attainment of universal health coverage. He also touched on the issue of mobile money and urged Nigeria to adopt it as a means of transacting businesses. The former Commissioner for Health Ogun State Dr. Olaokun Soyinka highlighted the need for Nigeria to adopt technology to improve health indices and how there was a need for Nigerians as a people to engage in health activism and demand availability and access to quality healthcare.
Country Director for PharmAccess in Nigeria, Mrs. Njide Ndili agreed by saying that: “Our objective is to continue advocacy for the use of digital technology especially using the mobile phone to create access to healthcare especially for the low income communities, and improve efficiency by reducing administration cost of providing healthcare services”
Vanguard has written a brief overview of the conference. If you wish to read more, please click here.