Edo State Govt. begins treatment of vulnerable persons through telemedicine

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By Monday Ajogun

Benin, June 4, 2022 Edo Government on Saturday began the treatment of vulnerable persons in the state, using telemedicine at the Oredo Primary Health Care Centre in Benin.

Naija247news reports that telemedicine is a free medical outreach programme, via virtual examination of patients by Doctors, .initiated by the state government in collaboration with the Association of Nigeria Physicians in America(ANPA).

Addressing journalists, the Edo Commissioner for Health, Prof. Obehi Akoria, said free medications were given to patients after being examined by ANPA doctors using telemedicine.

According to her, “They consult our doctors in the United States of America, after they finish seeing them, they give them their medicines for free and they go home.

“Last Saturday, we saw 12 patients and that has been going on like this since. This is something we intend to continue and strengthen.

“There will be an official launch of this programme on Tuesday. The launch is to tell the world that it has been tested and proven and that it’s possible.

” We have people who have benefited from it. On that Tuesday, our partners from the United States of America will be physically on ground.

“Doctors abroad sit in their office, we schedule patients for them to see. Our nurses remind them of patients’ appointment.

“The doctors in American are on the screen, talking to the patients in Benin, asking questions, making decisions and at the end, write prescriptions and go home with the medicine which is free.

“Now, we are scaling, we are using this place for now. We are moving to Ugbor PHC and from there, we will gradually scale to other places.

“If there is a problem in Auchi or Ibillo, the same way somebody stays in America and talk to someone in Benin and sort out a problem that will be the same to be done in Auchi.

“They don’t have to travel on the road, risk their lives because the technology is there. This is about deploying the internet to deliver healthcare.

“As it is right now, this is being done on a purely volunteer basis, a free service, courtesy of the Government of Edo State.

“The government is investing in the hardwares, computers, Internet and solar panels required for this job.

“The first phase was the proof of concept phase. We have passed that stage, it is working seamlessly.

“We are at the pilot phase and we need to strengthen it. The next phase is for us to scale, and it will be outside Benin so that overtime, we can go outside.

“We are volunteers. As this thing goes, it will be a whole department on its own, where we will now have to employ dedicated staff who will be troubleshooting across the state, helping us solve issues by deploying technology.

According to her, if after examination and it requires surgery, the patients will be arranged in batches and the surgeons will be booked to come from USA to conduct the surgery in Nigeria.

On her part, the Executive Secretary, Edo State Primary Healthcare Department Agency, Dr Otaniyenuwa Obarisiagbon, noted that ANPA treated over 10,000 patients during their free medical outreach done recently in the state.

Obarisiagbon also said about 5,000 surgeries were done, adding that over 3, 000 medical classes were given out to Edo people.

“Today’s programme has further exposed us to free and quality medical care across our primary health care centers where family care can be obtained,” she said.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Patience Osazuwa, 75, said she came due to her earlier appointment with medical officials and Dr Philip Osehobo attended to her via telemedicine.