October 3, 2023

Sodiq Ojuroungbe

The Lagos State Government has announced a plan to develop a telehealth model to support the implementation of various interventions targeted at enhancing rural people’s access to primary healthcare across the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said the introduction of the telemedicine service tagged ‘EKOTELEMED’ in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided essential healthcare services and reduced the risk of contagiousness on both residents and medical personnel.

While speaking at the kick-off of the implementation research, which was held at Sojourner Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, he noted that health is a cardinal focus in the ‘THEMES PLUS’ agenda of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, stressing that the state government is committed to the provision of affordable, efficient and equitable healthcare services to its residents.

Dr. Ogboye, who was represented by the Director, of Medical Administration and Training, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olufunmilayo Shokunbi said the state government had reinforced public healthcare facilities, engaged in a recruiting drive for healthcare professionals, and invested in healthcare infrastructure at both the primary and secondary levels to boost the supply side of the healthcare industry.

He also noted that the state had strengthened its capacity to respond to outbreaks and provided the enabling environment for private sectors to establish state-of-the-art facilities, thereby reducing medical tourism.

He said, “As we embark on a mission to explore, evaluate and implement telehealth solutions that will transform the way that we deliver healthcare. I urge everyone to share knowledge, exchange best practices, and develop innovative strategies that will drive the successful implementation of telehealth across the State”.

Dr. Ogboye also inaugurated a 10-member Committee to steer the conduct of the first implementation research to test Equitable Digital-First care and explore telehealth potentials.

In her welcome remarks, the General Manager of Lagos State Health Management Agency, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, said telehealth has the potential to close the accessibility gap in healthcare, remove geographic barriers, and guarantee patient outcomes in an era of rapid technological advancements.

She added that since EKOTELEMED began operation in the State, telehealth has proven to have an enormous potential for bridging the gap between patients and healthcare professionals.

Dr. Zamba explained that LASHMA is prepared to conduct an 18-month telehealth implementation research study and other digital health services to incorporate the same as an integral part of ‘ILERA EKO’ basic plan.
She further revealed that LASHMA will receive funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and technical support from Solina Centre for International Development and Research, as well as Village Reach.

The 10-member steering Committee inaugurated will be led by General Manager, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, and the members would include Dr. Dayo Olajide – Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Health; Mr. Olukunle Daramola – Consultant, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Mr. Obinna Ukachuckwu – Divisional Head, Business Growth and Transactional Banking, Sterling Bank; Prof. Ololade Wright – the Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM); Mr. Onimole Mobolaji – Deputy Director, Development Partnership Department, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget and Mr. Peter Olowu – Director, Statistics, Lagos State Bureau of Statistics.

Other members of the Steering Committee are Mr. Oluwaleke Jegede, Principal, SCIDaR; Mr. Olaitan Oyedun – Project Manager, VillageReach and Miss Abiodun Abubakar, Planning and Research Manager, LASHMA, will serve as Secretary of the Committee.

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