ICTs and National Health Security Promotion

Olusola Oresanya, MD, IMPH
Public Health Specialist
• Introduction
• Aim
• Nigerian context
• The role of ICTs in health security
• ICT tools in health
• The role of women
• Conclusion
Health Defined…
• WHO defines ‘health’ as ‘a state of complete
physical, mental and social well-being and not
merely the absence of disease or infirmity’
• This suggests that one could be physically alright
but still be unhealthy
• Mental stress or social instability contribute to
negative health status
• Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a
body's constant adjustment and adaptation in
response to stresses and changes in the
environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium
called homeostasis
…and Public Health Security?
• This is defined as the provision and maintenance of
measures aimed at preserving and protecting the
health of the population
• It is also defined as the policy areas in which national
security and public health concerns overlap
• The spread of infectious disease can be considered a
security threat, along with the drugs trade as well as
• Protecting the safety and well-being of citizens is now
seen as a central security concern for governments
• Global Health Security Initiative established by some
G8 countries, Mexico and EU in 2001
WHO, 2014
• Health security can be guaranteed both at
population and individual levels
• This lecture aims at
1. linking ICTs to health security promotion
within the Nigerian context
2. Highlighting examples of ICTs currently being
used in securing public health, as well as
3. Recommending what can be done at
individual levels
In Nigeria…
• 36,000 women die every year in pregnancy or at child birth
• At least 5500 of these deaths are among teenage mothers
• Nigeria contributes 13 % of the global maternal death rates
(576/100,000 live births)
• Chronic illnesses also on the rise e.g. HBP, cancers, DM
• Health outcomes correlate with literacy/education
• ICRW research shows that women are more likely to control
their own destinies and effect change in their own
communities when they have higher levels of education.
• NDHS 2013 puts Women Literacy in Nigeria at 47% with
variations across the country
Female Literacy rate in Nigeria by state in 2013.
< 35%
< 35%
> 90%
Where does ICT come in?
• The global dialogue about "eHealth" and health information
technologies is gaining momentum
• One of the key public health strategies used to achieve better
health outcomes is communication for behavioural change
• Ignorance and poor access to services are major contributors to
negative and sometimes fatal health outcomes
• Investing in efficient, accessible, and cost-effective information and
communication technology (ICT) tools can help to improve health
outcomes and prevent diseases in low-resource settings
• ICT therefore provides a major platform to secure the health of the
• The internet is awash with information on different aspects of
health for instance, all you need to do is access it! (however, with
ICT tools in public health
• Global Alert and Response – track and respond to
disease outbreaks of int’l importance. E.g. EBV
• Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology
to map individual patients/study participants addresses
using geospatial reference data to allow for easier
home-visit follow-ups during both annual disease
surveillance sampling, vaccination campaign, disease
hot-spots and high-risk pregnancy check-ups
• "mHealth" (mobile health) tools - cell phones for
paperless data entry and patient and biological specimen
verification/tracking in the field (using unique identification
numbers and barcode)
ICT tools in public health - 2
• SMS for life – aimed at improving access to
essential malaria medicines in rural areas of
developing countries. It uses a combination of
mobile phones, SMS messages, the Internet
and electronic mapping technology to track
weekly stock levels at public health facilities in
order to eliminate stock-outs (reduced from 79%
to 26% in 6month in Tanzania)
• Data management systems -real time online
access to NHMIS on the DHIS platform. Mobile
phone options or hard-to-reach areas
ICT tools in public health - 3
• Teleradiology in Mali - provides a solution for the
lack of trained radiologists in rural hospitals, by
offering the possibility to send or receive x-ray scans
and diagnosis over the internet.
• In-clinic patient identification systems (including
fingerprint scanning) that are linked to electronic
medical record databases, allowing for more
streamlined access to clinical history and patient
• Health tips as sent as SMS to mobile phones
• Online Training courses for health workers
So what can I do as a woman ?
• Take charge of your own health security, be ICT
• Access the wealth of information available on the
• You can now subscribe to health tips as text
messages from any communication network
• Use the social media networks to share information
• Demand for information from your health provider
• Do your pap smear and HPV tests routinely
• Remove any breast lumps as soon as they are
Negative effects of ICT
• Reduced physical activity: A negative effect of
ICT is that users may adopt a more sedentary
lifestyle causing obesity, heart disease, and
• Backache from wrong sitting position while on the
computer, eye problem from computer glare etc
• Many countries have workplace regulations to
prevent problems such as repetitive strain injury or
eyestrain, but lack of physical exercise is rarely
addressed as a specific health hazard.
• Eat healthy, exercise, use dance DVDs
• The interrelation of ICTs and health security
cannot be overemphasised
• Although a lot is being done in the health sector
in terms of ICTs, there is still a long way to go in
• To intervene successfully in the reduction of
maternal mortality, empowerment of women and
education of the girl child are key
• Improve health in the community; rural access to
resources and basic medical services are
achievable through appropriate use of ICTs
Thank you

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