Over the years, technology has been changing every single aspect of our lives, and the health sector in Nigeria has undergone major improvements. Technology has found its way into these advancements through telemedicine.
Nigeria is a country populated with over 220 million, and one of the major issues Nigeria has been facing is access to quality healthcare.
Telemedicine, also called “telehealth,” has made access to quality healthcare possible for people all over Nigeria, even in remote areas, and has made healthcare more affordable for Nigerians.
In this article, we’ll talk about telemedicine and how it can be accessed in Nigeria.
Table of Contents
What is Telemedicine?
Just like its name implies, telemedicine combines technology and medicine that involves offering or receiving healthcare services without being physically present, i.e., visiting the hospital or its treatment through the Internet. Healthcare providers employ the use of telecommunication and social media to deliver medical services to patients.
Although telemedicine is not a new development in Nigeria, a lot of Nigerians still don’t know about it. This technological advancement ends the need to use cheap health care due to the high hospital costs.
According to the Nigeria Medical Association President, Dr. Ojinma Uche, there is only one doctor for every 10,000 patients in Nigerian hospitals. With this outrageous fact, it’s impossible to deliver the necessary care, which is one of the country’s major causes of over 376,093 deaths per year.
It is so accessible that even the most remote areas in the country can have access to healthcare, reducing the financial burden and effort it takes to go to a hospital, and it can be used in different ways for different situations.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Increases comfort and convenient
It reduces the need to leave your comfort to go to the hospital because you can see a doctor in the comfort of your home or workplace. This cuts off the travel time expenses and work time. It also made it easy for people to feel uncomfortable seeing a doctor for an issue that can cause discrimination to receive consultations without their physical presence.
Easy access to healthcare services
Telemedicine increases the accessibility to healthcare services. Those who have busy lives or live in remote places where healthcare isn’t easily accessible can get medical care without leaving their houses or workplaces. This advancement has increased the rate of services rendered by doctors and health practitioners to patients around the country.
Reduces cost of healthcare
One of the major reasons for the poor quality of healthcare in Nigeria is the high costs involved. Telemedicine has proven to be more affordable than regular doctor visits. The cost of travel is forgone with the use of telemedicine.
Prevents transmission of infectious illnesses
It reduces the chances of spreading infectious diseases like flu. It’s more efficient and safer to speak to a doctor on screen without exposing your illnesses to people in the hospital or being exposed to other illnesses.
Family members can listen to appointments
During the typical face-to-face appointment with the doctor, having your family members in the doctor’s office is not convenient.
Still, telemedicine makes it possible for the doctor or health practitioner to ask certain questions and get certain information about you from your family members.
It’s also easy for your family, even those not living within your immediate environment, to get details on how to care better for you as a patient.
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Telemedicine in Nigeria
Telemedicine is fast becoming a trend and is gaining popularity and relevance in Nigeria’s healthcare sector.
With the growing population, the need for telemedicine has been long overdue. It has been able to bridge the gap in healthcare access, especially in rural areas, through EHRs (electronic health records), telecommunication, and health monitoring apps.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a stepping stone to the use of telemedicine. During the pandemic, the traditional way of going to the hospital or clinic for healthcare services was cut off, and it became the only way to this problem. Many telehealthcare providers, like MobiHealth, CribMD, DRO Health, etc., have emerged to provide healthcare services to patients all around the country.
Before using telemedicine in Nigeria, you need to know the Health practitioner’s qualifications and ability to properly use telemedicine services to ensure you get the best treatment and care. Be prepared for times of emergency, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. There are always Ambassadors or Telemedicine promoters who can help you.
Challenges telemedicine is facing in Nigeria
Telemedicine in Nigeria still comes with several challenges that need to be tackled to make treatments safe and secure. Challenges like:
- Some restrictions come with it in Nigeria, e.g., Some devices and treatments are prohibited from being used in certain countries, Nigeria being one of them.
- Inadequate internet access in the country. There is no telemedicine without internet infrastructure. The quality of internet access in Nigeria is very poor and is a major issue in the use of telemedicine.
- The rate of digital illiteracy is high. Many people have little or no knowledge about telemedicine.
- Uncertainty of the use of telemedicine by patients or medical practitioners.
The future of Telemedicine in Nigeria looks rather promising, as the benefits that come with it far outweigh the disadvantages.
Telemedicine providers in Nigeria
These are some telemedicine providers in Nigeria in no particular order.
Tremendoc is a telemedicine platform in Nigeria that provides 24/7 virtual consultation with health practitioners at very reasonable prices. These consultations are done via video chats or audio calls.
Tremendoc also has an app where several health services like therapy, fertility tests, lab, and pharmacy services can be used. The app offers a retail, premium, and HMO(Health management organization) plan, which varies according to the price of the subscription and the services you get.
The retail plan costs #1000 per month. It allows you to get access to all General Practitioners for one month, unlimited consultations, audio, chat, and video calls, access to laboratories, prescriptions, and 24-hour offline consultations.
The premium plan costs #3000 per month and gives you access to specialist doctors like dermatologists, etc., and all the benefits of the retail plan.
The Health management organization plan is negotiable according to Tremendoc and gives you full access for all team members.
This Telemedicine provider targets underserved communities via the Mobile Consult App by offering fast online appointments, video consultations, telemedical cabins, and mobile clinics in rural areas. Depending on the size of the individual or family, their subscription can vary between #2,500 to #5,000 per year.
HealthConnect is a Telemedicine platform that offers Nigerians quality and convenient healthcare around the clock. Language is not a barrier in the use of the app as it comes in English, Igbo, Pidgin, Hausa, and Yoruba.
HealthConnect offers a feature called “Speak to a Doctor Now,” where you don’t have to make an appointment in advance and can consult a doctor immediately. Their plan ranges from #500 to #5000 per month.
Doctor 24/7 Telemedicine platform provides services mainly for women’s sexual and reproductive health, lifestyle management, mental health, or child healthcare. Depending on the type of services involved, their price vary from #500 to #5000.
DRO Health is a Telemedicine platform that provides access to professionals, specialists, and counselors through video calls, chats, and audio.
They also have an app where you can book several doctors at different prices according to their profile or your requirements. They offer a monthly subscription of #2000.
The app also has trackers for needs like period tracking, heart health, etc. They also make available a pharmacy option where you can buy drugs and get them delivered to you without stress.
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Telemedicine is emerging as a transformational solution in Nigeria, where access to adequate healthcare has long been an issue. The pairing of technology and medicine brings healthcare to every corner of the country and makes it cheaper. It benefits include better comfort, ease of access, cost savings, illness prevention, and improved family engagement.
Although it confronts hurdles such as device limits, internet limitations, and digital illiteracy, its promise shines brightly. It is set to change healthcare delivery in Nigeria, offering a better future for all, with providers such as Tremendoc, Mobihealth, HealthConnect 24×7, Doctor 24/7, and DRO Health.
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Esther Onyeije is a freelance content writer who specializes in writing Blog posts, Articles, and social media posts for blogs and websites.
She uses her background in writing to provide solutions to the pain points of your target audience and create clear and accessible content that makes challenging topics easy for any reader.
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