Telemedicine: What You Might Need To Know


The use of telemedicine in Nigeria could prove to be an effective remedy for health complications. People in Nigeria are now able to access health care more efficiently from the comfort of their homes, unlike before when they were frustrated, disillusioned, and angry at the poor quality of healthcare. Telemedicine platforms should allow Nigerians to access medical assistance at the touch of a button. With a population of 200 million, it is extremely challenging to provide physicians to even a fraction of them, especially given the lack of medical infrastructure in Nigeria. As a result, Telemedicine has flourished and created a huge market for offering healthcare services.

Surprisingly enough, Telemedicine is not a novel concept in Nigeria. In 2007, the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Federal Ministry of Health inaugurated their first Telemedicine project in six Federal Medical Centers and two teaching hospitals across the country. A large majority of Nigerians were not able to take advantage of it despite all its obvious benefits and potential.

Telemedicine is known as the practice of offering healthcare services through the internet, without there being a physical meeting between the patient and the doctor. Medical practitioners can make use of mediums like video consultations and chats to deliver high-quality healthcare services.

In a country with only four doctors for every 10,000 people, the need for Telemedicine cannot be overstated. For the average Nigerian, roadside pharmacies and chemists are their first choice for rapid healthcare, and when you consider how expensive private hospitals are and the many grueling hours often spent waiting for assistance in public hospitals, it’s easy to see where Telemedicine and Telehealth can fit in, especially in terms of reducing the time, money and effort spent by Nigerians who need medical help. Unfortunately, not many Nigerians have embraced the innovation.

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Despite some progress in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria over the last few years, challenges remain if telemedicine is to succeed there. There are about 51% of Nigerians without access to the internet, which means that a large number of Nigerians aren’t even able to use Telemedicine. Because telemedicine will be based on internet providers in the telecom sector, the issue of recurrent network failures and the quality of internet access are of paramount importance.

Additionally, the low literacy rate in the general population is also a problem. But even for people who have access to the internet and are literate, there is not much information available about telemedicine, which could be a factor in the low awareness of its services. Other things to consider are the erratic power supply, the numerous language barriers, and Nigerians’ general skepticism.

Despite the bad news, in some states, including Oyo and Lagos, private telemedicine companies have already emerged and started offering their services to the public.