How satellite connectivity is saving lives in Nigeria

05 April 2018

Okey Okuzu, founder and CEO, InStrat Global Health Solutions

  • enterprise

  • broadband
  • voice

Okey Okuzu, founder and CEO of InStrat Global Health Solutions, Inmarsat’s partner in Nigeria for our UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme healthcare project, describes the impact that satellite connectivity is having in remote clinics.

Improved access to better healthcare is a critical development need in Nigeria. The statistics are shocking: 58,000 women losing their lives in childbirth every year; the third highest infant mortality rate in the world; 10% of the global total of child deaths under five years old.

Inadequate infrastructure and lack of basic services and supplies, plus insufficient numbers of skilled healthcare workers, results in the lowest standards of health care delivery to rural communities. As a result, we see severe problems in controlling the spread of infectious diseases.

Using Inmarsat BGAN satellite technology, we have been able to deploy InStrat mobile health resources in 75 clinics without 3G access. The CliniPAK solution (developed and managed by Vecna Cares) is a simple way to capture maternal and child health data which is then shared with the State Governments in Ondo, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory to help shape healthcare policy and improve outcomes.

Similarly, EWORS electronic disease surveillance enables real-time data acquisition and analysis to detect and respond to outbreaks more quickly.

VTR is our mobile video training application. Health workers can access training videos and health education films can also be shown to patients attending clinics.

Without the BGAN connection, none of the clinics involved could access these valuable tools. In the year since the project was launched, we have recorded tangible improvements in health worker skill levels – and lives have undoubtedly been saved. Take the case of the woman who attended Odode clinic in Ondo State to give birth. The baby was born not breathing but her health worker quickly referred to the training video on resuscitation and saved her. Having instant access to advice has also been critical in other childbirth medical emergencies.In areas with poor literacy levels, video is also proving popular for education, such as showing mothers breastfeeding techniques.

As a result of this ongoing project, technologically-disadvantaged communities now have better access to healthcare, and we are on the way to developing a stronger health system that can be extended into every part of Nigeria, as well as other countries with similar needs.

About the author

Okey Okuzu founded InStrat Global Health Solutions to overcome barriers to healthcare delivery in low resource settings presented by infrastructural challenges. Now Africa’s leading mobile health solutions provider, InStrat leverages technology solutions that allow for smooth flow of information across the health system, regardless of physical location, for more effective patient health management and policy decisions.