Obaseki explores telemedicine to tackle health sector brain drain

Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is exploring opportunities in telemedicine to address the problem of brain drain in the health sector. Obaseki said this during a tour of facilities at the Edo Specialist Hospital and the Edo State Health Management Agency which are venues for the ongoing free medical healthcare outreach in the state.

The five-day medical mission for over 4,000 residents is being organized in collaboration with the Association of Nigeria Physicians in the Americas (ANPA).

Obaseki said the state’s extensive broadband infrastructure in Benin City, put in place by his administration, will support the telemedicine system. He said, “We are faced with brain drain in the healthcare system and one option we are looking at is to find a way around it by working with our health specialists from the Americas and setting up telemedicine facilities in the state.

“We have an extensive broadband infrastructure in place in Benin City, and we are looking at the possibility of having telemedicine facilities in all our Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) since we have the technology to track cases, review them and send them to specialists in their clinics in Americas, particularly in the United State to review the cases using technology.

With the model, they can interface with the patients and if surgery is required, they can now direct the process from where they are in the Americas.”

Obaseki promised to sustain ongoing reforms in the healthcare system, ensuring that Edo people get efficient and quality healthcare services. On his part, the President of ANPA, Christopher Okunseri said with telemedicine, individuals can contact physicians in the Americas from the comfort of their homes using technology and get the needed attention immediately.

He said, “ANPA is committed to ensuring that the telemedicine service works as the difference in time zone will not stop us from implementing this telemedicine through the PHCs. We are determined to ensure the delivery of better healthcare services to the Edo people.

“ANPA was the first organization to hold a virtual medical mission to Calabar. We did that a year ago as we did telemedicine across the globe. We examined patients through cameras, diagnosed them, and referred them for investigation. Telemedicine in Edo State is actualizable.”

Meanwhile, Obaseki has said that the state government is strengthening partnerships with stakeholders, including multinational organisations on the implementation of programmes, policies and initiatives to regenerate the state’s forest belt and conserve its biodiversity.

Obaseki said the state government’s effort to preserve its flora and fauna through effective regulation is codified in the bill on Edo State Forestry Commission, which is before the state assembly.

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The governor said this in commemoration of the International Mother Earth Day, marked across the world by the United Nations and its various organs. According to him, the state government is working with reputable organisations and professionals as part of plans for the concession of forests for regeneration.

“We will work with qualified groups and organisations with clear plans on sustainable regeneration action plans,” he said. He noted that the state is also working with relevant security agencies to prevent illegal exploitation of the state’s forest reserve, The Trumpet gathered.

Obaseki added, “Stakeholders including private investors and local communities must support the government’s implementation of policies and guidelines to protect our forest belt.

“We are working with owners of oil palm plantations, saw millers, timber licensees and contractors, and corporate organisations in the state to keep to the international conventions on protecting the environment from degradation.”

According to the United Nations, “Mother Earth is clearly urging a call to action. Nature is suffering. Oceans filling with plastic and turning more acidic. Extreme heat, wildfires and floods, have affected millions of people.

Even these days, we are still facing COVID-19, a worldwide health pandemic linked to the health of our ecosystem. “Climate change, man-made changes to nature as well as crimes that disrupt biodiversity, such as deforestation, land-use change, intensified agriculture and livestock production or the growing illegal wildlife trade, can accelerate the speed of destruction of the planet.”

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