Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday inaugurated the Abia Tele-health initiative, otherwise known as “Dial-a-doctor,” describing it as commendable effort in the healthcare delivery system in the state. Speaking at the event held at the International Conference Centre, Umuahia, Mr Osinbajo said Abia had blazed the trail in the utilisation of Global System of Mobile Telecommunication (GSM) in the delivery of quality healthcare to the people of the state. He said, “This is an especially exciting project because it is leveraging on available technology, in this case, the mobile phone to deliver affordable healthcare to the people.
” He said it had become expedient in Nigeria to embrace technology to close the healthcare gap between the urban and rural areas. Mr Osinbajo said avalaible records showed that Abia had about 1.5 million mobile phones. According to him, the state has taken “the lead in utilising the potential that mobile phone has as a means for delivering healthcare for the people.” “I am told that citizens can through a dedicated telephone line and affordable prepaid cards access medical care through a statewide network of doctors and communicate. “The initiative would cut the time spent travelling to see a doctor or waiting in line to see a doctor in a healthcare facility. “It will make Abia stand out in the healthcare delivery as a people-centered state that is open to life-changing innovation. “This is a very commendable initiative,” Mr Osinbajo said. He, however, said that the success of the programme would depend on the willingness of stakeholders to take on feedback and make the adjustments necessary to meet the evolving needs of the target beneficiaries. According to the vice president, this initiative would be helpful to the state and other states that would want to copy it. Mr Osinbajo used the forum to restate the federal government’s commitment to the welfare of Nigerians, especially the poor and vulnerable. He further said that the federal government had continued to render assistance to the 36 states of the federation, irrespective of their party affiliation.
He said that the gesture was a clear departure from the primordial practice, where past administrations at the centre always limited their assistance to states ruled by the party at the centre. He said, “At the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) in 2015, the president publicly declared that our own NEC will assist every state because poverty in our nation is no respecter of ethnic group, religion or party affiliation.”