The International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health (ISfTeH), was originally formed in 1997 to represent individuals
with an interest in telemedicine, re-founded under Swiss Law in 2003. One of the essential changes was the transformation
from an organization of individuals into an umbrella association for national telemedicine and e health organization, which
is politically neutral and democratic. The main activities of the society are promotion and support of telemedicine and e
health activities worldwide, assisting the start-up of new national organization and supporting developing countries in the
fields of telemedicine and ehealth.
By 2004, the Nigerian Telemedicine Development Alliance (NTDA) a web-based advocacy group was founded by Dr. Francis
Ohanyido a Nigerian public health physician with the mission of sensitising Nigerians on telemedicine, informatics, and eHealth
as well as creating an enabling environment for the diffusion of novel or related technologies in the domain. NTDA worked
dedicatedly with its members which was made up of mostly Medical Doctors and ICT specialists to educate policy-makers,
the public , and the health sector providers. Dr. Ohanyido who is also on the Board of the International Public Health Forum
(IPHF) is now considered as the true African pioneer advocate for Telemedicine and eHealth outside contemporaries in South
Africa. Nonetheless , it was to take a few more years before recognisable telemedicine and eHealth activities would become
visible in Nigeria. He was able in the early period of NTDA to experiment with video -editing cards in real -time ultrasonograhic
diagnostics at the CMDS Center in Kaduna, as well as theorising possible models for Telemedicine delivery like
the Wide Country Model (WCM) . This has been described as Ohanyido's Small Intelligent Community Clusters(OSINTECC).
Together with his associates , NTDA were able to sensitise the Federal Ministry of Health in the early period about the
development of this area of adjunct medical -ICT convergence.
The major challenge they had faced was the slowness of diffusion of new technology. NTDA progressively paved way as a
forerunner for the evolution of professional bodies in Bioinformatics and Telematics. The alliance ceased to be officially
active by 2006, having served its purpose as a 'ground softner' for other future organisations.
Many other pioneers also
emerged in Nigeria in the following years. The First Nigerian to be a member of ISfTeH was Dr. Joseph Adebola followed
by Dr. Taiwo Joseph-Kolo, Dr. BabaJide Lawson, Dr. Oladapo Olayiwola and Dr. Olushola Ojo.
At the last ordinary General
Assembly of ISfTeH held at Luxexpo, Luxembourg April 6, 2005, fifty-eight countries were represented and Nigeria was proudly
represented by Dr. Adebola. The congress generally agreed that individual members should get ehealth association started in
their respective countries to help facilitate development, dissemination of knowledge in telemedicine and ehealth worldwide.
Society for Telemedicine and ehealth in Nigeria (SFTeHIN) was established April 2005 and presided by Dr. Joseph Adebola
and became national representative member ISfTeH July 2005.
The Society is also participating in the World health Organization
Global observatory for e-health systems (GOe), an initiative of the Department of e-health unit, knowledge management and
sharing World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. GOe is a worldwide instrument for promoting best practices in telemedicine
The Society for Telemedicine and e-Health in Nigeria (SFTeHIN) is a non-governmental and not-for-profit
society, a national representative member International Society for Telemedicine and e-Health (ISfTeH) registered in Switzerland.
It is geopolitically neutral and democratic.
The Society engages with the WHO collaborating centre on Telemedicine,
Norwegian Telemedicine centre, Norway, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and National eGovernment
Strategies (NeGST) and other relevant institutions on projects, research and training. The Society has observer status on
the International Public Health Forum (IPHF). As a matter of fact, last month, the Society partnered with NITDA, FCT Ministry
in participating at the 10th United Nations University eGovernance course that held for the first time in Nigeria at NITDA.
society has placed Nigeria in the league of Nations involved in Telemedicine and e-health for the promotion of global competitiveness
facilitating national dissemination of knowledge and experience on telemedicine and e-health and to provide access to recognized
experts in the field within the shores of Nigeria.
SFTeHIN took the initiative of organizing multi-national stakeholders
meeting on “Developing Sustainable Telemedicine and e-Health Programme for Nigeria” it involve public private
partnership. To support the Federal Government of Nigeria policy for Information Technology (IT) to invest in IT-based health
care systems to ensure that Nigerians have access to good health care delivery. A high level of collaboration is a huge value
among stakeholders and the most critical success factor in any telemedicine and e-health initiative.
I. To bring stakeholders together and raise awareness at the national level on the need to have a national
telemedicine and e-health programme for Nigeria .
ii. To ascertain the readiness of stakeholders to deploy telemedicine
and e-health services within the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria
iii. To make recommendations on developing sustainable
telemedicine and eHealth program in Nigeria.
Revisiting 1st PACTe
The first Pan African conference on
Telemedicine and eHealth (PACTe) held in 2006. The LOC of PACTe had the Society for Telemedicine and eHealth in
Nigeria (SFTeHIN), in partnership with Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Federal Ministry of Communications (FMOC), New Partnership
for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), National Health Insurance
Scheme (NHIS), National eGovernment Strategies Ltd. (NeGST), and World Health Organization (WHO) which organized it . The
conference held from 19th – 20th June 2006 at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre Abuja. Sponsors of the conference
included Lagoon Hospitals Lagos and Hygeia Nigeria Ltd (a Health Maintenance Organization).
The President and Commander-in-Chief
of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by the Minister of Health,
Professor Eyitayo Lambo, declared the conference open. Other dignitaries who made remarks include the Hon. Minister of Communications,
Chief Cornelius Adebayo; WHO Country Representative, Dr Belhocine; Senior Special Assistant to the President on NEPAD and
Head of NEPAD Nigeria, Chief (Mrs.) Chinyere Asika; Treasurer of International Society on Telemedicine and eHealth, Frank
Lievens; Executive Vice-Chairman of NeGST, Dr Olu Agunloye.
Participants were drawn from Federal Ministries and Agencies,
major tertiary health institutions and the academia, information and communications technology (ICT) firms, health maintenance
organisations, private medical practitioners, development partners and multinationals.
There were scientific sessions,
with the delivery of several papers by various experts and telemedicine practitioners from within and outside Nigeria. The
international resource persons included Prof Ganapathy (President, Neurological Society of India and Head of Apollo Telemedicine
Network Foundation, India); Dr Maria Zolfo, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium (via voice presentation); André
Mikolay, President, Promotion Sociale et Dèvelopment en Afrique, Republic of Congo; Mr. Frank Lievens,Treasurert, International
Society for Telemedicine and eHealth (ISfTeH); and Augustine Egbunike MD, Fmr. Medical Director Ramsey Prison Cluster Unit,
The 2nd PACTe is scheduled to hold on 18-19th of September, 2008.