Telemedicine app solution to self medication, other challenges in Nigeria’s healthcare- Oyo NMA, Chair

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By Ibukun Emiola
Ibadan, Sept. 8, 2020 Dr Ayotunde Fasunla, Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Oyo State branch, has underscored the importance of Telemedicine App as a veritable panacea to self medication and other challenges facing the Nigerian healthcare delivery system.

Fasunla stated this at the inauguration of a Telemedicine App ‘Ohealth’ by Online Health Company Limited in Ibadan on Tuesday.

The NMA chairman, who was represented at the event by his Vice, Dr Wale Lasisi, said COVID-19 has brought about the reality of having every sphere of human life online through the internet.

“Majority of people that are technology compliant will benefit from this Telemedicine App through their android devices, availability of data and funding their wallet for access.

“The app is user friendly, cost effective for patients but not that financially rewarding for doctors.

“The whole idea is reaching out to more people in meeting their health needs. Doctors feel satisfied when they are able to save more lives and reach out to more patients.

“The app is not actually for treatment per se because some conditions will not be treated online.

“For some conditions people will just be able to get advice or directions to the specialist in line with their health needs,” he said.

Also, the Founder of Ohealth, Dr Temitope Farounbi, said that the app came about to provide a better, faster and affordable healthcare delivery system for people.

Farounbi, a Consultant Neurologist, said it came as a way to solve some of the challenges Nigerians face in accessing healthcare.

She said that health care delivery in the country had been marred with great difficulty, and led to seeking alternative care, which has oftentimes led to negative effects on the health of many Nigerians.

“Ohealth takes into consideration the purchasing power of majority who cannot afford so much to see a doctor. The app has three models in the form of text chat, audio and video calls.

“This allows anyone to talk to a qualified medical doctor and specialist with as low as N40 per chat, N100 per minute for audio and N300 per minute for video call.

“Medical doctors on the app platform are committed to saving lives and preserving the human race as they deliver quality health care to people at their doorsteps.

“The new terrain of online health is designed for global reach as the doctor-patient rate in Nigeria is high and people spend a greater part of their day visiting hospitals which has increased self medical treatment and increased the burden of healthcare in the country,” Farounbi said.

In his remarks, Dr Ajibola Oladiran a partner in the business said “self medication can be disastrous because many times we find out that people who are into this feel that because they are having some form of treatment so they don’t present early to the hospital.

“And then at the times they are presenting things are already much worse than it would have been if they had presented earlier.

“Some other people take medication to which they are allergic, some people take an overdose, some take medications and then they have adverse side effects.

“And some other people take medications that interact adversely with other medications that have been prescribed for them. So there is no advantage whatsoever to self medication.”

Oladiran said one of the things the app will do is to reduce the rate at which Nigerians self medicate.

“Rather than self medicate the amount of money the person would spend going to where they want to buy the medication can actually be spent consulting with a doctor on the app.

“And then they will get a better understanding of what needs to be done, what their needs are.

“For conditions that can be properly diagnosed and prescription given via the app, that can be done, but in other instances advice can be given about when and how they can meet with a specialist who can adequately review and treat them.

“Acceptance of the app by Nigerians is going to significantly reduce self medication,” he said.

Naija247news reports that the former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola was represented at the event by Chief Kayode Afolabi among other dignitaries.

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