By Mohammed Mohammed
The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has reiterated that the integration of Information Technology (IT) into Nigeria’s health care sector will fast track the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The NITDA boss made the disclosure at a workshop on Healthcare and ICT with the theme “Healthcare Transformation and Digital Technology” Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi State, organised in conjunction with the Nigerian Medical Association, (NMA) Bauchi State chapter.
Represented by the Head, Digital Ecosystem Unit, Digital Economy Department, Dr Amina Magaji, Abdullahi, underscores that the UN summit on the Information Society provides adequate information and roadmap on the integration of ICT into healthcare service delivery.
Abdullahi, said the resolution of the United Nation General Assembly calls for “a close alignment between WSIS process and the 2020 agenda for sustainable development which requests all stakeholders to integrate ICT into their approaches to implementing the goals.
“Under this alignment, the following action lines are linked to the SDG Goal 3 and they include; role of stakeholders in promotion of ICT4SDG through cooperation and partnership, focusing on access to information and knowledge, addressing digital literacy and lifelong learning and application of ICT in several areas amongst which are e-Health or Digital Health.” The DG said.
Abdullahi, said NITDA as part of its regulatory mandate will continue to develop and regulate IT for sustainable national development by supporting the implementation of the National Health ICT Strategic Framework, adding that going by the mandate, ICT would enable and help in delivering Universal Health Coverage in the country.
According to him, the National Strategy was developed using the WHO-ITU toolkit that is capable of creating enabling environment for digital health in Nigeria.
She assured that NITDA would continue its commitment to harness the potential of technology to find effective and innovative ways to put this potential of leveraging on ICT to develop health care service for all Nigerians.
In a remark, the Acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Haruna Liman noted that the opportunity the Agency availed the doctors in the state would help to advance the partnership between the health sector and NITDA, being the vanguard of the digital economy in Nigeria.
Liman acknowledged that health practices generally is being increasingly digitalized for efficiency and effective treatment of patients,” he affirmed.
The digitalization and computer applications in the health sector he added is impacting positively on the mandates that affect teaching hospitals, explaining that these include, training, research and health care delivery to the extent that one who is not computer literate in this time would find it difficult to practice as health care specialist regardless of his area of specialization.
He said: “Definitely, the benefits that we stand to gain from the application of digitalization of health sector cannot be enumerated.
He commended NITDA for the collaborative workshop with a view of to closing the gap that exist, stressing: “We have made recommendations on how we can improve on our digitalization processes.”
He said: “Our hospital has made efforts to digitize the medical health record. We have interacted with some resource persons but it is still evolving, we have not yet finalized it but I believe with the facilities we have, NITDA can guide us to achieve this.