The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has recommended that a national governance structure must be set for effective delivery of e-health services across Nigeria.
The leadership of USPF, a fund set up to promotes ICT diffusion in Nigeria, believes that priority should be accorded to the establishment of a National Health ICT Steering Committee and support structure in overseeing Health ICT planning, implementation, coordination and evaluation.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]USPF says that despite the country’s economic gains, the overall health status of the Nigerian population is poor (as defined by the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey), infectious and non-communicable diseases remain among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality continuing to take their toll on the health and survival of Nigerians.[/quote]This is contained in an extract from the “National Health ICT Strategic Framework 2015-2020 published by USPF, the Federal Government body under the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to promote the widespread availability and usage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in rural, un-served and under-served areas in Nigeria.
The report notes that while the National Council on Health (NCH) supports the strategic leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communication Technology (now changed to Ministry of Communication), there is currently no national governance structure hence ”it is essential for Nigeria to establish a National Health ICT Steering Committee and supporting structure.”
With the coming effect of the committee, USPF says the body will be promoting awareness of Health ICT policies, regulations and best practices, and encouraging, incentivizing or mandating adoption of nationally-supported Health ICT services.
USPF says that the committee will be responsible for implementing National Health ICT Monitoring and Evaluation Plan to ensure delivery of expected outcomes as well as support and facilitate required change across Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs).
Nigeria is poised to become a major global powerhouse. Currently, Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation. By 2050, Nigeria is expected to be one of the ten largest economies in the world and is already Africa’s most populous country.
Despite these economic gains,the report says close to half of the population live in poverty and life expectancy is projected to only increase marginally. Accordingly, health needs and priorities, along with demographic trends, must be considered to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources and optimise strategies to address the issue.
USPF says that despite the country’s economic gains, the overall health status of the Nigerian population is poor (as defined by the 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey), infectious and non-communicable diseases remain among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality continuing to take their toll on the health and survival of Nigerians.
”In order to advance the enabling environment and support scale-up of initiatives, a unifying Health ICT Strategic Framework is required. A Health ICT Strategy will enable Nigeria to leverage current and future ICT investments to build an integrated national health information infrastructure and help enable Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2020″, the report adds.
”By 2020, Health ICT will help deliver and enable universal health coverage — whereby Nigerians will have access to the services they need without incurring financial risk”, the report says.
According to USPF, effective leadership and governance of Health ICT activities at all levels is essential to ensure coordination, sustainability and alignment with national health priorities.
Furthermore, a Health ICT Project Management team will be established to carry out the implementation of the Health ICT Vision in support of the Steering Committee and Technical Working Group (TWG).
The National Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Advisory Group will facilitate M&E and linkages to the National Health Management Information System (NHMIS), according to USPF.