In order to mitigate the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology through its agency, the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) has collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Health and Atlantic Factorial Ltd for the use of telemedicine facility for mobile testing of the virus.

Telemedicine was one of the target applications of the Nigerian Communications Satellite which carries Hughes VSAT equipment, Polycom video equipment and AMD telemedicine
(NOC). The pilot project was designed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, while the sub-networks integration commenced in March 2007 with the Network Operation Centre. The initial plan was for the integration of the sub-network to include Eight Remote Terminals and One Mobile Unit commissioned in January 2008.

The remote terminals are in Bayelsa, Bernin Kebbi, Ibadan, Gombe, Maiduguri, Makurdi, Owerri, and Owo, spread across the geopolitical zones in the country. The remote terminals and mobile bus are equipped with basic diagnosis equipment such as Cameras (General Examination Camera, Image & Illumination System) and Diagnostic Scopes (Electronic Stethoscope –Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Scope, Ophthalmoscope and Dermascope).

While speaking in Abuja, the Minister announced the Ministry of Science and Technology will make use of this facility to support the work of the Ministry of Health in curbing COVID-19 across the country. According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as at 09:00 pm on 8th April, there are 276 confirmed cases in Nigeria, 44 have been discharged and 6 deaths have been recorded.

The Managing Director of Atlantic Factorial Limited, the lead partner of NASRDA on the project, Mr Olugbenga Leke Oyewole who commended the Acting Director General of the space agency and his management team emphasesed the need for public private partnership in the space sector in NIgeria particularly at this point in time.
This according to him will provide for the attainment of maximum efficiency and affordability for the growth and development of the sector which he described as critical to various development programmes and efforts anywhere in the world.

Mr Oyewole described the Telemedicine project as a great achievement for the space agency and the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, saying government at levels should take advantage of this modern technology to revolutionise the health sector in the country.

Source: Space in Africa