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Resident doctors to support one million Nigerians with Tele-health initiative

[FILES] Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to assess, diagnose, plan, implement and evaluate patients . Photo: PIXABAY

The National Executive of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has launched Telehealth Solutions Initiative to cater for the health needs of one million vulnerable Nigerians as the world battles COVID-19.

The association stated this in a release issued by NARD President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi and Chairman, NARD Telehealth Committee, Dr. Kenneth Uwajeh in Lagos.

The body said NARD 1 in a Million Programme – a revolutionary medical outreach programme to one million Nigerians, is targeted at increasing COVID-19 awareness from screening for symptoms, prevention and management mainly targeting the grassroots via digital means (Telemedicine).

The association lamented that the COVID-19 pandemic has left its marks on the association and the nation, and NARD has fashioned out a way to combat the menace.

“The goal of the Telehealth solutions is to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 among the poor, vulnerable and underserved members of the population at the primary care level,” the body said.

According to NARD, the programme is to spread nationwide providing affordable and accessible services at the grassroots via Primary care (where the majority of the vulnerable masses receive services) using
the instrument of Tele-health.

They said: “We recognise the challenges of providing services at this level which includes the disproportionate lack of qualified health practitioners and the unsupervised service providers, despite task-shifting strategies.”

NARD added that Telehealth solutions have been successfully implemented globally and within the African Continent.

” We believe a similar approach would be successful within the Primary Care system in Nigeria.

“We have an army of at least 15,000 doctors in our association, many
of whom are willing to provide these services for free in the battle
to defeat COVID-19 and protect the vulnerable masses.

“In this regard, NARD has engaged with several agencies locally and internationally. Some of these include the NCDC, NPHCDA, NGF, and consultants including renowned public health leaders such as Professor Asuzu of UCH, Dr. Fajola MD, FWACP Manager, Regional Community Health at Shell, Dr. Wole Odutolu (Senior Health Specialist at the World Bank)
and Professor Pamela George (George Washington University). NARD is committed to giving it’s time, talents and treasure to save the suffering masses,” the association said.

NARD said that it will be using existing infrastructure- LG, PHCs, CHEWs and volunteer NARDites to implement the programme.

They noted that on the side of the populace, this will further improve health literacy on COVID-19, change health-seeking behaviour, improve access to healthcare in comfort, access to high-quality healthcare that is affordable, reduction in risk of contracting COVID-19 and reduction in morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19.

NARD aims to use telehealth solutions to provide education and free medical consultation to one million, education on how to prevent infection and transmission, consultation to identify at risk cases and refer to the appropriate authorities and agencies.

“This is our chance to write history as COVID-19 is the greatest challenge ever faced in modern times. In the process we not only save our nation but save the continent and the world,” the association said.

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