By Abujah Racheal
Sustainable, scalable and equitable innovations in the healthcare system will reduce maternal deaths in Nigeria, Ms Iyadunni Olubode, a Consultant and the Nigeria Director of MSD for Mothers, an NGO, said on Thursday.
Olubode made the assertion in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on the sideline of the 2020 Future of Health Conference.
The Future of Health Conference is organised by the Nigeria Health Watch and the theme for 2020 is “Innovation: Improving Health and Scaling Up Healthcare Access’’.
The conference aims at discussing innovations and how they are needed to improve healthcare access for every Nigerian.
Olubode, said that given the country’s Maternal Mortality Rate at 512 per 100,000 live births and the exacerbating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal health outcomes, it had become clear that business as usual would not get the country there.
“To meet our goals, we need strong, resilient, integrated health systems where public sector capacity is complemented by private sector innovation.
“We need solutions that reflect the preferences, needs and values of the Nigerian woman; solutions that are scalable, sustainable and equitably available.
“We also need the right policies environment and funding mechanisms that support these solutions.
“ Innovation is the key to bridging the gap from where we are to where we want to be,” she explained.
Also speaking, Dr Moredreck Chibi, Regional Innovation Adviser of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), said that one of the challenges that could potentially inhibit innovation on the Africa continent was the digital divide.
Speaking on the critical interventions that African governments need to prioritise and bridge the divide, Chiba said that innovation thrives in a knowledge based economy where all the people have equal access to information in order to create a sustainable society.
“Digital divide is one of the challenges especially in Africa as result of imbalances in terms of access to Internet infrastructure, information and knowledge.
“This exacerbates inequity gaps and heavily compromises equal opportunities for economic empowerment.
“Governments and other concerned stakeholders should concentrate on promoting ICT skills and digital literacy in a non-discriminative manner to ensure equal opportunities for the young and future generations.”
Chibi told NAN that the provision of minimal package of interconnected and interoperable e-services that are accessible to everyone and the promotion of digital literacy should become top priority for governments.
This, he said, would ensure countries relevance for future knowledge based society.(NAN)