In Nigeria alone there is a population 186 million in 2016, and approximately 35 million women between the age of 15 – 49, clearly maternal health problems pose a major challenge in Nigeria.
Currently, 814 women die from pregnancy-related causes for each 100,000 live births accounting for 14% of global maternal mortality. (Ghana-319, UK – 9, US – 14), the proportion of women who receive antenatal care is 56% and birth attended by skilled healthcare professional is 33%.
Clearly, the high cost of medical consultation and treatment and difficulty in accessing good care when required encourages the use of self medication and unregulated practitioners to meet recurring healthcare needs.
The Middle Class in Nigeria for example have an unending unmet healthcare needs, which is not deserved.
The penetration of internet in Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Nigeria, currently stands at about 30% with over 5 million internet users.
In 2013, 72% were visiting social networking sites, 55% for access to emails and 46% for entertainment with Facebook 6.5 million users.
Undoubtedly, Social media has helped shape the opinion of a lot of Africans most especially is Saharan Africa including politics and entertainment. It provides for increased awareness, education, direct interaction with clients and offers a setting virtual meetings.
Today, Nigeria has Africa’s largest mobile market, with more than 148 million subscribers and a penetration of about 107%, this has yet to be integrated into the health care system in Nigeria. Research have found an increase in the use of social media by patients who seek healthcare and information.
It allows for health education, patient engagement and empowerment. Integrating it into the healthcare system could allow for fast and accurate patient access to healthcare workers, build a solid partnership between specialists and patients creating a virtual health centre.
Our Objectives at AsktheGynaecologist which started in late Nov 2015 currently with over 45,000 members is to provide a platform for education of women on reproductive health, bridge the current access to healthcare gap, empower women with tools to take charge of their health and promote gender equality, equity and justice
We engage in daily discussions, teachings, as well as provide virtual consultations on maternal health issues. Our team comprises of obstetricians, gynaecologists and general practitioners and we have made good progress in a short time frame & have decided to expand.
Our desire is to provide a network where women can connect to a doctor at a convenient time, anywhere from the comfort of your home, office or on the move and Online 24hrs, Telephone 9 am – 9 pm, 7 days a week providing a team of doctors available remotely on the web, with a mobile line access with support of well trained healthcare practitioner or nurses using agreed protocols.
Our dream is to provide access to healthcare Saharan Africa, and if necessary provide assistance to connect to a specialist in the UK or US.
Health is wealth, and healthcare at your fingertips is solid wealth for Africa by providing excellent service, source of employment, and economic growth.
Dr Lilian Ugwumadu MBBS, DFSRH, MRCOG
Former Executive Member AsktheGynaecologist Nigeria