It is 2050 and Mrs Fasakin, a businesswoman from Oyo State, is on a business trip to Delta State for a week. Unfortunately, she had a fatal accident on her way, sustaining a head injury which rendered her unconscious. She was rushed to Delta State University Teaching Hospital and was diagnosed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding into the brain). She requires urgent surgery to drain the blood in her brain and halt further brain injury.
However, Mrs Fasakin has a serious anaphylactic reaction—a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction—to Suxamethonium, the anaesthetic agent the surgeons would have used to sedate her for the surgery, this could kill her faster than the brain injury and very preventable if the surgeons have the information, but she is unconscious and can’t give the information about her anaphylactic reaction.
Fortunately, the ideal Nigeria runs a Centralized Electronic Health Record System (CEHRS) which can be accessed using the patient’s verifiable identities. The centralized health record system allows information about patients to exist inside one mainframe that is accessible from numerous points. It allows a patient to move between different health facilities and provides potential caregivers with an updated medical history of the patient. With this, Mrs Fasakin was saved from the consequences of having the anaphylactic reaction as her health information was accessed from the electronic health record for the required surgical intervention. Her operation was successful, and she was subsequently transferred to her state for recuperation given the stability of her vitals.
Dr Hamzat, one of Mrs Fasakin’s surgeons, compared how Nigeria had been faced with the seemingly insurmountable problem of preserving the quality and ensuring availability of health records which in turn deteriorated the healthcare delivery system, leading to preventable deaths from infectious diseases, anaphylactic reactions to medications, and maternal and child mortality to how the health care system of the ideal Nigeria had improved substantially with the CEHRS.
She thought of how the CEHRS had improved patient management outcomes, reduced unnecessary waiting times in hospitals, improved referral processes, enhanced health research, improved health delivery equity, reduced morbidity and mortality as in Mrs Fasakin’s case, reduced administrative costs and taken the health services of the Ideal Nigeria to lofty heights. She commended the government for realizing that the volume of health records was huge and would continue to increase; for the health system to keep up with the ever-increasing health records and provide real-time health care, a centralized electronic health record system has to be put in place.
She pondered on how the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) had in the last decade pursued a national program towards orientating health record officers in both public and private hospitals about the implementation of a centralized electronic health record. Thereafter, the ministry mandated all existing health facilities to connect with the newly created national health database which uniquely identifies all prospective patients using either the national identification number (NIN), the fingerprint or the phone number. New IT systems were introduced into hospitals by gradually replacing software and hardware and public Wi-Fi was structured for effective internet access.
She remembered how all stakeholders in the system were adequately engaged in the build-up of the new system to avoid disintegration and friction along the adoption chain. The development of the database and other needed dependencies were outsourced to the Nigeria Communications Commission, another institute that has led Nigeria and Nigerians to the global stage of accolades in modern technology. As of January 2045, the FMOH announced that it had achieved a 90 per cent success rate as nine out of every ten health facilities in Nigeria used the CEHRS.
Healthcare remains one of the most important sectors affecting the entire population, closely linked to the development of any country as it plays a crucial role in how a country is perceived. In maintaining economic stability, the progress in health services silently placed the Ideal Nigeria at the centre of massive development. The country’s power sector became reliable, construction of roads was dealt with serious concern and security and quality education attracted positive investments. Citizens were engaged in the need for national values and reasons not to sabotage developmental efforts by the public or private sectors. Public accountability suddenly became the ethos of the leaders while civil servants and the masses became conscious of the evils of offering or taking bribes. The rush for greener pastures came to a halt and Nigerians in Diaspora could no longer resist the urge to return home.
She smiled and said to herself, ‘it’s a new Nigeria!’⎈
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