In today’s digital age, technology has become an integral tool in Nigeria’s fight against various diseases. From improving access to health care to building health care capacity, technology has played a vital role in the effort to combat disease. Here are 10 ways technology assists in tackling diseases in Nigeria.
Tackling Diseases in Nigeria with the Help of Technology
- One of the major ways technology is helping to combat diseases in Nigeria is through an electronic case-based reporting system. This system allows for real-time tracking of disease cases and outbreaks, which helps detect potential outbreaks early and respond quickly. All 774 local government areas in Nigeria have implemented this system through the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programs (FELTP).
- Technology is also helping to fight tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in Nigeria. More than 1,000 health facilities have implemented electronic medical record systems, providing data for program decision-making. A national repository of de-identified patient records for more than 1.9 million HIV patients has also emerged and more than 500 facilities have implemented systems for automated and instant transmission of viral load results to aid in the exchange of health information related to HIV.
- Technology has played a key role in the fight against vaccine-preventable diseases by using innovative software and messaging systems. Nigeria has implemented a national software system for routine immunization along with an SMS texting system for weekly reporting in 18 states. Additionally, an electronic data management system is aiding COVID-19 vaccination efforts, allowing for more efficient tracking and distribution of vaccines.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology in the fight against disease in Nigeria. The integration of COVID-19 testing into the national laboratory network enabled the country to conduct more than 5.5 million tests between 2020 and 2022. A state response coordination mechanism has emerged, allowing for weekly virtual meetings among the 52 national rapid response teams. Additionally, digital training materials are helping to support infection prevention and control efforts among 1,000 frontline health care workers.
- Funmi Adewara and her company, MobiHealth International, are using digital technology to combat the pandemic. They are doing this by providing patients with access to thousands of doctors in multiple languages through a smartphone app, toll-free line or mobile, solar-powered telehealth clinic across Nigeria. Additionally, the company has launched a free telemedicine hotline in partnership with the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research to provide remote communities with COVID-19 screening and testing.
- Technology is also aiding in training volunteers who spread information about COVID-19 through digital media platforms such as Zoom. This allows for effective communication and dissemination of information about the virus to a wider audience, which increases public awareness and understanding of the disease.
- Technology is also beneficial for surveillance and response to diseases. The power of technology has greatly enhanced the speed and effectiveness of activating public health emergency operations centers in Nigeria. The country has 36 sub-national public health EOCs spread across its six geopolitical zones, all of which are connected to the National EOC.
- Additionally, technology is helping to improve surveillance systems for tracking and preventing infectious diseases, such as polio and measles, in Nigeria by monitoring vaccines’ side effects. In the fight against Ebola, technology has played a crucial role in early detection and response. Examples include thermal scanners at airports, mobile phone technology for reporting, and public health informatics tools for data collection and analysis, which have helped overcome challenges in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
- The African CDC is using technology to improve disease monitoring in Africa, including Nigeria, through Digital Disease Surveillance. This method involves tracking and monitoring illnesses and outbreaks by utilizing data from online sources such as search engines, social media and mobile phones, allowing for real-time tracking of disease spread and targeted efforts by health care professionals.
- Technology is helping enhance health care delivery in Nigeria by utilizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This includes the utilization of ICTs to improve health care services and record keeping by implementing remote monitoring systems for patients to track their health, using advanced equipment and machinery in laboratories to better understand diseases and their causes and utilizing telemedicine and artificial intelligence.
In conclusion, technology is playing a vital role in the fight against diseases in Nigeria. From electronic case-based reporting systems to digital surveillance and telemedicine, technology is improving disease monitoring and responsiveness, enhancing health care delivery and increasing health care access for all Nigerians. The implementation of these technologies has enabled real-time tracking of disease cases, early detection of outbreaks and efficient distribution of vaccines. The use of technology has also helped to overcome challenges in the fight against diseases such as COVID-19, TB, HIV and polio. Moreover, it has greatly enhanced the speed and effectiveness of activating public health emergency operations centers. As technology continues to advance, it will become an even more important tool in the fight against diseases in Nigeria.
– Nkechi First