Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014

Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Assessing the Enabling Environment
for ICTs for Health in Nigeria:
A Review of Policies
Prepared by the United Nations Foundation in Support of ICT4SOML

SEPTEMBER 2014                                                     |   1
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4                                            Summary of Recommendations
List Of Acronyms And Abbreviations.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 5                                                                     and Conclusion .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
                                                                                                                                                 Leadership and Governance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
Important Definitions.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
                                                                                                                                                 Strategy and Financing  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
List of Figures and Tables.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
                                                                                                                                                 Legislation, Policy and Compliance .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 31
         Figures .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
                                                                                                                                                 Standards and Interoperability  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
         Tables .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 7
                                                                                                                                                 Workforce  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
Executive Summary.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 8                                                     Infrastructure .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
Introduction. .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9                                         Services and Applications .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 32
   background .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9                                conclusion .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 33
         Saving One Million Lives .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 9                           Appendix 1.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
   report objectives .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12                                          full list of documents reviewed . . . . . . . . . . . 34
   how to read this report .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 12
                                                                                                                                        Appendix 2.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
Methodology .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14                                       list of key informant organizations .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 35
   literature search  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14
   key informant interviews .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 14
Nigeria ICT for Health
Enabling Environment .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 15
         Leadership and Governance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16
         Strategy and Investment .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 19
         Legislation, Policy and Compliance .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 19
         Standards and Interoperability  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 21
         Workforce  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 22
         Infrastructure .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 22
         Services and Applications .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 23
   summary of findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Global Benchmarks for
Comparison and Lessons .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 28
         Leadership and Governance  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 28
         Strategy and Investment .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
         Legislation, Policy and Compliance .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
         Standards and Interoperability  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 29
         Workforce  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
         Infrastructure .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
         Services and Applications .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
                                The United Nations Foundation would like to sincerely thank the Saving One Million Lives
                                (SOML) Secretariat, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Communica-
                                tions Technology for their leadership and support in the strategic application of technology
                                to save lives – especially those of women and children. The contributions made throughout
                                the landscape and inventory processes, including establishing contacts between the Infor-
                                mation and Communication Technology for Saving One Million Lives (ICT4SOML) team and
                                industry stakeholders, have been invaluable. We would like to thank, in particular, Dr. Kelechi
                                Ohiri and Seyi Ibidapo of the SOML office.

                                We would also like to thank all partners and key informants who contributed to the landscape
                                and inventory for ICT4SOML. The resulting outputs, including this report, would not have
                                been possible without the input of all key health and ICT stakeholders in Nigeria. A special
                                thanks is due to Dr. Funke Fashewe of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Dr. Dauda Suleiman
                                of Futures Group, Dr. Farouk Jega of Pathfinder International, Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab of
                                PRRINN and Mr. Felix Uduh of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

                                In closing, we would specifically like to acknowledge United Nations Foundation staff and
                                consultants who contributed to the authorship, design and implementation of this report.
                                Thanks are due to Dr. Patricia Mechael, Dr. Ime Asangansi, Jonathan Payne, Avrille Hanzel
                                and Nadi Nina Kaonga, as well as consultants from Health Systems Consult Limited: Alozie
                                Ananaba, Nkata Chuku, Uche Nwachukwu and Bamidele Aderibigbe.

                                ICT4SOML LEAD

                                COORDINATING PARTNER

Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
List Of Acronyms And Abbreviations
ANC         Antenatal Care
ARV         Antiretroviral
eHealth     Electronic Health
EHR         Electronic Health Record
EMR         Electronic Medical Record
FCT         Federal Capital Territory
FMCT        Federal Ministry of Communication Technology
FMOH        Federal Ministry of Health
GSMA        Groupe Speciale Mobile Association
HIS         Health Information System
HIV/AIDS    Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
ICT         Information and Communication Technology
ICT4SOML    Information and Communication Technology for Saving One Million Lives
ITU         International Telecommunications Union
JSI         John Snow, Inc.
LGA         Local Government Authority
LMIC        Low- and Middle-Income Country
MCH         Maternal and Child Health
MDG         Millennium Development Goal
mHealth     Mobile Health
MNCH        Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
NACA        National Agency for the Control of AIDS
NAFDAC      National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control
NCC         Nigeria Communications Commission
NCH         National Council on Health
NHIS        National Health Insurance Scheme
NHMIS       National Health Management Information System
NIGCOMSAT   Nigerian Communications Satellite
NIMR        National Institute of Medical Research
NIPOST      Nigerian Postal Service
NIPRD       National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development
NITDA       National Information Technology Development Agency
NPHCDA      National Primary Health Care Development Agency
ORS         Oral Rehydration Salts
OSSAP       Office of Special Assistant to the President
PATH        Program for Appropriate Technology in Health
PHC         Primary Health Care
SHC         Secondary Health Care
SMS         Short Message Service
SOML        Saving One Million Lives
SURE-P      Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme
UN          United Nations
USPF        Universal Services Provision Fund
WHO         World Health Organization

                                                                                     |   5
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Important Definitions
                                Electronic health (eHealth) refers to the use of information and communication technology
                                (ICT) in support of health and health-related fields, including health care services; health
                                surveillance; health literature; and health education, knowledge, and research. The definition
                                introduces a range of services such as electronic health records to ensure continuity of
                                patient care across time, mobile health (mHealth) services, telehealth, health research,
                                consumer health informatics to support individuals in health decision making, and eLearning
                                by health workers. In practical terms, eHealth is a means of ensuring that correct health
                                information is provided in a timely and secure manner via electronic means for the purpose
                                of improving the quality and efficiency of health care delivery and prevention programs.
                                mHealth services, in particular, focus on the application of mobile and other wireless tech-
                                nologies for health systems strengthening.

                                An eHealth Strategy can serve as an umbrella for planning and coordinating different
                                national eHealth efforts while considering fundamental elements in terms of regulatory, gov-
                                ernance, standards, human capacity, financing and policy contexts. A good National eHealth
                                Strategy presents a set of interventions that the health sector plans to use to facilitate the
                                efficient and effective delivery of services. Without an overarching national level strategy,
                                ICT initiatives are left at the hands of individual organizations without coordination and a
                                guarantee that they are in the best interest of clients. A national level eHealth strategy with
                                sector-wide participation and ownership is an effort to fill this gap.

                                Frameworks serve as guides, rules or well-defined approaches towards addressing a
                                particular matter. An eHealth framework is specifically concerned with applying ICT in a
                                health system. Different frameworks exist and can range from being general, and providing
                                comprehensive approaches to governing the regulatory environment and guiding imple-
                                mentations within that context, to being specific, and focusing on a particular aspect of
                                eHealth, such as data standards.

                                A health information system (HIS) is a system that collects, transmits, stores and manages
                                health-related data. The data can be patient-specific (or row-level data) or aggregate.
                                Reports can typically be generated from an HIS. If a system is primarily being used to inform
                                and support health management practices, the system is referred to as a health manage-
                                ment information system.

                                An architecture is a conceptual framework that is used to inform data collection, trans-
                                mission, storage and sharing. Architectures show the integration of many components
                                into a whole, as well as the interoperability that enables these components work together.
                                Interoperability is the ability of an application or platform to establish a data exchange with
                                another application or platform. For interoperability to occur, both services must use the
                                same standards [for communication].

                                Standards serve as rules or guidelines that ensure consistency in the context in which they are
                                applied. Standards can exist around data, processes and systems. The standards development
                                process is variable (e.g., government-mandated versus stakeholder-based). As such, it is
                                possible for multiple standards to exist and formal-alignment among the different standards.

                                A policy refers to a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by an organization
                                or individual while strategy refers to the method or plan chosen to bring about this desired
                                course or principle of action. While compliance has multiple meanings, the report primarily
                                uses it to mean adherence (to policy and legislation).

Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
List of Figures and Tables

 figure 1. current status of the nigeria ict for health enabling
 environment according to the who-itu stages/extent of development .  . 15
 figure 2. timeline of national policies and strategies .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20


 table 1. soml program areas and targets  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 10
 table 2. components of the ict for health enabling environment .  .  .  .  .  . 13
 table 3. summary of information on key roles of fmoh
 departments and agencies within the context of ict for health .  .  .  .  .  .  . 17
 table 4. summary of information on key roles of fmct
 departments and agencies within the context of ict for health .  .  .  .  .  .  . 18
 table 5. summary of enabling environment, highlighting
 strengths, gaps and recommendations  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 24

                                                                                                                                    |   7
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Executive Summary
                                Committed to reducing maternal and child mortality, the Federal Government of Nigeria is
                                implementing the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative. The initiative will scale up pri-
                                mary health care services and will focus on ten program areas, including maternal and child
                                health, routine immunization, essential medicines, nutrition, malaria, elimination of mother-
                                to-child transmission [of HIV/AIDS], private sector engagement, quality improvement, fiscal
                                space analysis and data management. The federal government has recognized the oppor-
                                tunity that information and communication technologies (ICT) present to help accelerate
                                the achievement of SOML’s goals. Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Health with support
                                from the United Nations Foundation, along with GSMA, the Government of Norway and
                                other partners, have launched ICT4SOML – Information and Communication Technology
                                for Saving One Million Lives. Through ICT4SOML, ICT for health tools that address SOML’s
                                program areas will be scaled up and the ICT for health enabling environment in Nigeria will
                                be strengthened.

                                In order to understand the current state of affairs of the enabling environment, a compre-
                                hensive two-phase baseline assessment was designed. The initial assessment includes a
                                landscape and inventory analysis and the policy review. The findings of the initial assess-
                                ment will help ensure that activities within ICT4SOML are informed and contextualized to
                                the Nigerian environment. This report, in particular, presents the findings from the policy
                                review. This review has been structured around the eHealth enabling environment frame-
                                work from the World Health Organization and International Telecommunication’s National
                                eHealth Strategy Toolkit. The seven core components of the framework are leadership and
                                governance; strategy and investment; legislation, policy and compliance; standards and
                                interoperability; workforce; infrastructure, and services and applications.

                                Through this framework, the strengths and gaps in the enabling environment for applying
                                ICTs for Health in Nigeria are analyzed and discussed, using information from the following
                                sources: reports on SOML and ICT4SOML activities, including the accompanying inventory
                                report; national policies and strategies; international eHealth policies and strategies and
                                key informant interviews. Recommendations in each of the seven component areas have
                                been outlined, including recommendations based on a review of eHealth policies in similar
                                jurisdictions as well as international best practices.

                                Notable strengths in the existing environment include inter-ministerial involvement in and
                                commitment to ICT for health, acknowledgement of infrastructure and regulatory gaps and
                                numerous on-going implementations. However, a lack of harmonization, no strategic long-
                                term financing mechanisms and an inadequate policy and regulatory environment hinder
                                progress in realizing sustained and effective ICT for health enabling environment. Therefore,
                                it will be important to improve coordination and put appropriate mechanisms in place to
                                foster progress.

                                As an immediate next step, the findings and recommendations in this report will be reviewed
                                by key stakeholders, including policy makers and other stakeholders working on improving
                                Nigeria’s enabling environment. Based on the review and other contextual considerations,
                                a national, overarching framework should be developed. This framework should build upon
                                and capitalize on the policies and strategic drivers already in place to support ICT for health
                                activities. In addition, the framework should provide standards for eHealth implementation,
                                and a proper governance structure to provide an enabling environment for eHealth in Nigeria.

Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
Approximately one million women and children die from preventable causes every year in
Nigeria. Of those deaths, roughly 33,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes, and
of the 946,000 children who die before their fifth birthday, 241,000 are newborns1. Nigeria
is constrained by an inequitable distribution of resources and inadequate health services.
Despite efforts to address maternal and child health challenges, Nigeria has among the
highest rates of maternal and child mortality in the world2, with 560 maternal deaths per
100,000 live births3 and 125 deaths of children under 5 years of age per every 1,000 live
births4. In recognition of the effort to accelerate progress in reducing maternal and child
mortality and to meet the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 5, the
Federal Government of Nigeria has implemented several initiatives to help address some
of the health system challenges, including Saving One Million Lives (SOML).

Saving One Million Lives

SOML aims to scale up access to essential primary health services and commodities
and focuses specifically on the health and wellbeing of Nigeria’s women and children.
The vision of the initiative is to create an environment where all women, children and
caregivers are equipped with information to be able to mitigate death and have access
to quality health services when and where needed.

With a focus on improving health outcomes and having significant impact, clear and
ambitious targets have been established6. SOML has been divided into ten program
areas. Each program area has established targets (refer to Table 1). All targets are aligned
with the MDG 2015 timeframe.

5. N
    igeria Revised National Health Policy (2004). Available from:

                                                                                                        |   9
Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies - SEPTEMBER 2014
table 1. SOML Program Areas and Targets

 PROGRAM AREA                   TARGETS

                                Reduce maternal mortality ratio from 545/100,000 live births to 250/100,000 live births

                                Reduce the neonatal mortality rate from 40/1,000 live births to 14/1,000 live births

                                Increase the proportion of births attended to by a skilled birth attendant from 38.9% in
 Maternal and                   2008 to 85%
 Child Health
                                Increase the proportion of pregnant women attending 4 or more antenatal care (ANC)
                                visits from 45% in 2008 to 80%

                                Increase the number of upgraded primary healthcare facilities from 1,000 MSS sites in
                                2012 to 5,000 sites

                                Increase number of infants receiving DPT37/Pentavalent vaccines in target Primary
                                Health Care facilities and communities to 87%
 Routine Immunization

                                Increase percentage of coverage of oral polio vaccine to 87%

                                80% of under-five diarrhea episodes treated with oral rehydration salt (ORS) and zinc

                                80% of under-five malaria episodes treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy
 Essential Medicines
                                within 24 hours

                                80% of under-five pneumonia episodes treated with cotrimoxazole or amoxicillin

                                Cure rates: Consistently achieve a cure rate of 75% of children admitted for acute malnu-
                                trition from 71.4%

                                Case fatality rates: Consistently achieve a death rate of less than 10% of children being
 Nutrition                      treated for acute weight-loss

                                Exclusive breast feeding for at least 80% of children under the age of 6 months

                                100% of children under the age of 5 receiving vitamin A

                                Increase the utilization rates of children under the age of five years sleeping inside the
                                mosquito nets from 29% in 2010 to equal or greater than 80%

                                Increase the utilization rates of pregnant women sleeping inside mosquito nets from 65%
                                in 2010 to at least 80%

                                Increase the uptake of all eligible pregnant women receiving two doses of Intermittent
                                Preventive Treatment from 5% in 2008 to equal or greater than 80%

                                Improve the uptake of prompt diagnosis and treatment of children under the age of
                                five with fever cases or suspected malaria cases using effective antimalarial from 33$ as
                                recorded in 2008 to at least 80%

Increase access to antiretroviral (ARV) prophylaxis for all HIV positive pregnant women
                                       from 22% to 90%

    Elimination of Mother-
                                       Increase access to ARV prophylaxis for all HIV exposed infants from 8% to 90%
    to-Child Transmission
    [of HIV/AIDS]
                                       Increase access of HIV positive pregnant women to quality infant feeding counselling to 90%

                                       Increase access of HIV exposed infants to early infant diagnosis service to 90%

                                       To increase the amount of data and information reported and available on private sector clin-
                                       ical services, financing, and operational management for improved health system planning
    Private Sector
    Engagement                         To implement business models that identify and coordinate private sector providers
                                       to achieve increased knowledge, improved quality of services, and economies of scale
                                       through shared resources, leading to increased investment-grade enterprises

    Quality Improvement                Target(s) Forthcoming

                                       Supporting departments within FMOH & NPHCDA in using the report to develop the 2015
                                       health budget

    Fiscal Space Analysis
                                       Having 30-40% of donors in the Development Partners Group use tool as basis for aid grants

                                       Increase in the Federal Government’s allocation to health

                                       Phase 1: Scale-up of SOML in 20 states with the lowest reporting rates (0-25% as of
                                       August 2013) by December 2014; 80% reporting in other states.
    Data Management

                                       Phase 2: Scale-up in the remaining 17 states by December 2015; 80-100% reporting in all states.

The Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has expressed interest in strategically and
systematically using information and communication technology (ICT) to improve maternal
and child health8. Accordingly, in support of the Nigeria FMOH, the United Nations (UN)
Foundation, Government of Norway, GSMA and other key partners in Nigeria are working
together to leverage ICTs for health (or electronic health, otherwise called eHealth). An initial
focus has been placed on the SOML initiative through an effort entitled “ICT4SOML”.

ICT4SOML has two main goals9:

    1. To support the scale-up of high priority ICT for health projects through working groups
        targeting specific SOML program areas

    2. To strengthen the ICT for health enabling environment in Nigeria through the
        development of a national framework that addresses gaps in the enabling environment

7. Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus
8. G
    SMA mHealth Country Feasibility Report: Nigeria (2014). Available from:
9. ICT4SOML Highlight Report. Available from:

                                                                                                                                     |   11
report objectives
                                 A two-phase assessment of ICT for health in Nigeria was conducted to facilitate the design
The primary                      of ICT4SOML, to inform policy and enabling environment strengthening activities. Phase 1,
purpose of this                  which consisted of a landscape analysis, inventory and policy review, will help ensure that all
                                 activities within ICT4SOML are informed and contextualized to the Nigerian environment10.
report is to provide
                                 This report presents the findings from the policy review of Phase 1 and is a complement to
policy makers                    the previously published Landscape and Inventory review.
and other key
stakeholders with                The primary purpose of this report is to provide policy makers and other key stakeholders with
an understanding                 an understanding of the current ICT for health enabling environment in Nigeria as it relates to
                                 legislation, policy and compliance. The report identifies gaps in the ICT for health enabling envi-
of the current ICT               ronment, especially those gaps which are on the critical path to scaling up high priority ICT for
for health enabling              health interventions, and provides recommendations to ameliorate these gaps. Understanding
environment in                   the current state of affairs can better shape the ICT4SOML goals and define the magnitude of
Nigeria as it relates            strategic investment needed to achieve the goals. The findings of this report, in conjunction
to legislation, policy           with the landscape and inventory report, are intended to support policymakers and other key
                                 stakeholders in refining the broader ICT4SOML and SOML goals and to develop addressing
and compliance.
                                 gaps and enriching the enabling environment. Cultivating a strong ICT for health enabling envi-
                                 ronment enables a high performance health system that supports both near-term SOML goals
                                 and sets the foundation for long-term sustainability and improved health outcomes.

                                 how to read this report
                                 The “National eHealth Strategy Toolkit” by the World Health Organization (WHO) and
                                 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) forms the framework for this report. The
                                 toolkit describes seven components in a national electronic health (eHealth) environment11
                                 (refer to Table 2).

                                 10. Ibid.
                                 11. W
                                      HO-ITU National eHealth Strategy Toolkit (2012). Available from:

table 2. Components of the ICT for Health Enabling Environment


   Leadership and        Oversee and coordinate eHealth activities at the national level,
   governance            ensuring alignment with national health goals and priorities

                         Responsible for planning and engaging all stakeholders involved
   Strategy and
                         in ICT for health activities and aligning and procuring financing
                         for ICT for health

   Legislation, policy   Covers national policies and legislation for ICT for health in
   and compliance        terms of development, alignment and regular review

                         Empower health workforce to use ICT for health through educa-
                         tion and training programs

   Standards and         Introduce standards and ensure their use for enhanced interop-
   interoperability      erability and integration

                         Refers to the physical infrastructure, services and applications
                         that form the foundation for ICT for health implementations

   Services and          Devices and tools utilized by end users to collect, transmit,
   applications          access and maintain health information

As adapted from the 2012 WHO-ITU eHealth Strategy Toolkit12, Table 4

This report focuses on legislation, policy and compliance; standards and interoperability;
leadership and governance; strategy and investment; and workforce. The concurrently
published report, “Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A
Landscape and Inventory”, focused on infrastructure and services and applications and is a
complement to this report. Together, the two reports will provide a complete picture of the
current ICT for health enabling environment in Nigeria.

Following the methodology section, the report has been divided into three sections:

   • N
      igeria ICT for Health Enabling Environment: Using the WHO-ITU framework, this
     section provides information on each of the components for enabling environment.
     Each component has its own stand-alone section that contains an overview and
     analysis for that component. Therefore, readers can focus on specific components
     by reading the accompanying section. For example, readers interested in standards
     information can read the “Standards and Interoperability” section only.

   • G
      lobal Benchmarks for Comparison and Lessons: This section provides an overview of
     global trends and focus areas. In addition, the policies of selected countries have been
     used to highlight different approaches, common themes and options for Nigeria to
     address gaps in her enabling environment. For consistency, the WHO-ITU framework
     has been loosely applied to this section.

   • G
      aps and Recommendations: The gaps identified through the assessment of
     the ‘Nigeria ICT for Health Enabling Environment’ are featured in this section.
     Recommendations are provided for each identified gap. In efforts to help inform the
     development of the National ICT for Health Framework, special attention has been
     made on legislation, policy and compliance and standards and interoperability.

12. Ibid.

                                                                                                |   13
The potential of
                                 The source documents and information featured in this report were obtained through a
ICTs to improve                  search of the literature and key informant interviews. Guiding questions used to inform
health has been                  the search and interviews were derived in accordance with the WHO-ITU framework13.
recognized by both               The questions covered the structure, interaction and role of entities in the health system,
the public and                   service delivery, health care financing system and basic funding mechanisms and health
private sectors with             system challenges – keeping in mind that relevance to ICT4SOML was a priority. After
                                 analysis, gaps were identified and recommendations formulated.
evidence of success
of ICT for health                literature search
initiatives in Nigeria
and globally.                    Source documents were obtained through desk research and key informants. For the Nige-
                                 ria-specific documents, literature searches included “Nigeria” as a key word. Key informants,
                                 including representatives from the FMOH and UN Foundation, were specifically asked to
                                 provide recommendations on policy guidelines to review. Global benchmark countries were
                                 first identified by key informants with extensive technical expertise in the global ICT for health
                                 sector. Countries were selected based on their relevancy to informing identified gaps in Nige-
                                 ria’s enabling environment and strength of their enabling environment. To identify how Nigeria
                                 compared to countries with a similar contexts and to learn from approaches in these com-
                                 parable countries, a few countries were included for their similarity to Nigeria on geography,
                                 socioeconomic status and health indicators. [See appendix for full list of source documents.]

                                 key informant interviews
                                 Key stakeholders within the ICT and health sectors in Nigeria who were deemed as being
                                 most relevant to SOML and ICT4SOML success were selected for informant interviews.
                                 [See appendix for complete list of key informants.] Interviews were conducted with the key
                                 stakeholders in May 2014. Interviews lasted no longer than one hour. In addition to exploring
                                 the structure, interaction and role of entities in the health system, service delivery, health care
                                 financing and funding mechanisms and health system challenges, cross-sector engagement
                                 was also examined. Transcripts of the interviews were analyzed for important themes and
                                 trends. Informants were also asked to provide recommendations on relevant policies, reports
                                 and other documents to review.

                                 13. Ibid.

Nigeria ICT for Health
Enabling Environment
The potential of ICTs to improve health has been recognized by both the public and private
sectors with evidence of success of ICT for health initiatives in Nigeria and globally, but
scale-up and sustainability have proven to be challenging. The ICT sector has evolved faster
than the policies that guide the use of ICTs for health, presenting significant challenges to
projects moving towards institutionalization14.

The WHO-ITU Toolkit describes a framework for stages of development of the national
ICT for health enabling environment (see appendix for a description of the stages). For the
purposes of this report, Nigeria is considered to be transitioning from ‘experimentation and
early adoption’ to ‘developing and building up’15. Countries at the developing and building
up stage are directed (a) to strengthen existing systems, (b) to ensure that guidelines and
policies are in place and enforced, and (c) to establish funding and planning mechanisms for
full transition of the enabling environment and long-term success.

figure 1. C
           urrent Status of the Nigeria ICT for Health Enabling Environment
          According to the WHO-ITU Stages/Extent of Development

                Current Status                      ESTABLISHED ICT ENVIRONMENT
                of Nigeria ICT

                Desired Trajectory
                of Nigeria ICT


                                                                                  SCALE UP
                                     DEVELOPING &
                                      BUILDING UP

                                                             II.   III.                              ESTABLISHED ENABLING
      ENVIRONMENT                                                                                        ENVIRONMENT
       FOR eHEALTH                                                                                       FOR eHEALTH


                                                     EMERGING ICT ENVIRONMENT

For more information on the stages/extent of development, please refer to the WHO-ITU
eHealth Strategy Toolkit.16

14. N
     igeria National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy [Draft] (2012). Available from:
15. W
     HO-ITU National eHealth Strategy Toolkit (2012). Available from:
16. W
     HO-ITU National eHealth Strategy Toolkit (2012). Available from: [see Table 2]

                                                                                                                            |   15
A summary table outlining the findings from the review of the enabling environment can
                                be found at the end of this section. In addition, more detailed information on each of the
                                components of the enabling environment explored below are located in the appendix.

                                Leadership and Governance

                                Understanding organizational arrangements by identifying the key stakeholders and how
                                they interact with one another and external actors is important for assessing and strate-
                                gically supporting the implementation of programs. Given the multidisciplinary nature of
                                digital health, the FMOH and Federal Ministry of Communication Technology (FMCT) each
                                play important roles in its governance.

                                The Nigerian health care system is divided into primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Local
                                government areas (LGAs) are responsible for primary health care; States oversee secondary
                                care facilities, and the federal government is responsible for tertiary health care. In addition,
                                the federal government, through the FMOH, provides high-level health sector leadership
                                and is responsible for the overall strategic oversight for healthcare in the country. The
                                FMOH, which is headed by the President-appointed Honorable Minister of Health, has ten
                                departments and six agencies through which it carries out its functions. The departments
                                and agencies all play different roles in ICT for health leadership, the most relevant, along with
                                two special presidential programs, have been outlined in Table 3.

table 3. Summary of Information on Key Roles of FMOH Departments and Agencies within the Context of ICT for Health

  DEPARTMENT/AGENCY                             KEY ROLE

  Department of Health Planning,
                                                Leadership for national health information systems
  Research and Statistics (DPRS)

  Department of                                 Provides governance for tertiary health centers and hospital information
  Hospital Services                             systems

  Department of
                                                Oversees epidemiology and surveillance information systems
  Public Health

                                                Oversees the National Products Supply Chain Management Programme
  Department of Food
                                                (NPSCMP) which has a technical working group responsible for harmoniz-
  and Drugs
                                                ing and supporting an electronic logistic management information system

  National Primary Health Care Develop-         Provides oversight for primary health care policy and Midwives Services
  ment Agency (NPHCDA)                          Scheme; has its M&E and ICT units

                                                Provides oversight for food and drugs; has a mandate for the National
  National Agency for Food and Drug
                                                Mobile-based Authentication Service; oversees drug and medicines
  Administration and Control (NAFDAC)

  National Health Insurance Scheme              Oversees health financing; e-NHIS database involving clients, health
  (NHIS)                                        maintenance organization, providers and insurance companies

  National Agency for the Control of AIDS       Provides national leadership for HIV/AIDS activities, including monitoring
  (NACA)                                        and evaluation and health information systems strengthening

  National Institute of Medical Research        Oversees medical research and uses a medical research information
  (NIMR)                                        system

  National Institute for Pharmaceutical         Leadership for pharmaceutical research, and national database for
  Research and Development (NIPRD)              locally sourced drugs and biological products

  Subsidy Reinvestment and Empow-
                                                Chairs the ICTs for supply chain and mobile conditional cash transfer
  erment Program – Maternal and Child
                                                (mCCT) working groups
  Health (SURE-P MCH)

  Office of Special Assistant to the Pres-
                                                Provides leadership/governance for MDGs, MDGs tracking and the MDGs
  ident on the Millennium Development
                                                information system
  Goals (OSSAP-MDG)

Established in 2011, the FMCT oversees ICT-related policy formation, implementation monitoring and evaluation, as well as
the supervision and oversight of most government ICT-related projects and initiatives. The FMCT seeks to improve infrastruc-
ture, optimize use of existing resources and build capacity. Similar to the FMOH, the FMCT exerts its operations through its
departments and agencies. Table 4 provides a summary of those entities.

                                                                                                                        |    17
table 4. Summary of Information on Key Roles of FMCT Departments and Agencies within the Context of ICT for Health

  DEPARTMENT/AGENCY                                  KEY ROLE

                                                     Leads the formulation and supervises the implementation of the
  Department of e-Government                         National ICT Policy; coordinates and supervises ICT programs across all

                                                     Falls under the auspices of e-Government and is meant to enhance ICT
                                                     infrastructure to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government
  Galaxy Backbone                                    operations through a common services platform, offshore VSAT hubs,
                                                     data center, metro fiber backbone and multiple redundant Internet

                                                     Oversees the National IT Policy and enacts services through the NITDA
  National Information Technology
                                                     Act (2007); tasked to enter into strategic alliances with the private
  Development Agency (NITDA)
                                                     sector and international organizations

                                                     Responsible for coordinating policies in conjunction with the
  Department of Planning, Research
                                                     e-Government; involved in reviewing and updating master plan and
  and Statistics
                                                     road maps in ICT sector

  Universal Services Provision Fund                  Tasked to enhance accessibility and availability of telecommunications
  (USPF)                                             and ICT infrastructure and services throughout Nigeria

                                                     Responsible for creating enabling environment for competition among
  Nigerian Communications Commission
                                                     industry operators and maintain accountability of these organizations to
                                                     ensure efficient distribution of quality and affordable services

  Nigerian Communication Satellite                   Manages commercial viability of the Nigeria Communication Satellite
  (NIGCOMSAT)                                        and intentions to support a national telemedicine initiative

                                  Beyond the departments and agencies listed under the FMOH and FMCT, there is the
                                  National Council on Health (NCH) and the National Planning Commission17. The NCH serves
                                  as an advisory board on health issues and will become the highest policy-making body for
                                  healthcare in the country upon passage of the pending National Health Bill. In 2013, the
                                  NCH issued a mandate for the routine reporting of data from all primary health facilities into
                                  the national data warehouse administered by the FMOH Department of Health Planning,
                                  Research and Statistics (DPRS). The National Planning Commission, which reports directly
                                  to the President, is responsible for setting national priorities and goals and engendering
                                  consensus across government agencies.

                                  In part due to the number of relevant government departments and agencies, health ICT
                                  leadership is decentralized and often roles are not clearly defined. Competing programs
                                  and priorities within government further complicate the development of a coordinated
                                  cross-ministerial health ICT strategy, which contributes to lack of transparency, fragmenta-
                                  tion, market risk, and high costs.

                                  The establishment of an inter-ministerial governing body for ICT for health with represen-
                                  tation from all levels of the health system would provide a platform for sustained strategic
                                  alignment of health ICT activities. Such a platform would also serve to improve cross-sector
                                  communication and collaboration by facilitating shared learning, promoting transparency
                                  and partnerships, and encouraging adoption of best practices.


Strategy and Investment

Strategy, or the deliberate application of ICTs in alignment with national health goals, and
its drivers informs how investments can be made to best support the application of ICT                              Key strategic
for health and, subsequently, to enable the achievement of national health goals. There is                          drivers of ICT for
currently no formal eHealth strategy or framework in Nigeria. However, as part of ICT4SOML,
                                                                                                                    health include
there is a plan to support the development of a National eHealth Framework focused initially
on maternal and child health use cases. The framework will coordinate and strategically
                                                                                                                    political will and
direct the activities of the leadership and stakeholders as they work to address health system                      commitment, and
challenges through the strategic application of ICTs within the health system.                                      health system
                                                                                                                    needs and
Key strategic drivers of ICT for health include political will and commitment, and health sys-
tem needs and opportunities. From the perspective of the Nigerian government, ICTs are an
important enabler to achieve its strategic goals and vision for a healthy nation, as illustrated
in the Vision 2020, the drive to meet the MDGs, the National Health Strategic Development
Plan, and the push for Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria. These strategic visions are key
strategic drivers within the health system that underpin the application of ICTs. In addition,
the government and its partners have announced a vision to improve ICT infrastructure
(e.g. the National Broadband Plan) and build capacity in the use of ICTs as part of efforts
to catapult Nigeria to the league of top 20 economies by 2020. Over time, the ICT sector
has shown sustained growth with technology becoming more affordable and the general
population having taken advantage of this, as evidenced by the continuous increase in the
mobile phone penetration.

The burden of financing health care services is borne by individual households who typically
pay out-of-pocket for their health care18. Despite primary health care (PHC) facilities consti-
tuting the majority of health care facilities in Nigeria and having a central role in maternal and
child health, many are underfunded, understaffed, lacking essential equipment and drugs,
and poorly managed19.

Two funding schemes have been proposed—NHIS and the National Health Bill—to help
address shortages in funding and could serve as long-term funding mechanisms for ICT
for health. The National Health Bill, in particular, will be most relevant to ICT4SOML, given
its focus at the PHC level. Other funding sources should be advocated for, identified and
explored to establish a portfolio of short- and long-term financing opportunities. The result-
ing variety of funding sources, mechanisms and incentives should be aligned with the health
system and ICT for health priorities and needs.

The work being done through ICT4SOML can and should take the key drivers under
consideration, along with serving as an advocacy tool for identifying sustainable financing
mechanisms for ICT for health20. The drivers can be used to help inform the framework;
potentially viable sources of funding (and funding considerations) should also be included in
the framework. The resulting framework can then serve as a foundation for an overarching
national eHealth policy and accompanying strategy.

Legislation, Policy and Compliance

Legislation, policy and compliance addresses the legal and regulatory measures, public
policy, and observance of rules and regulations related to ICT for health. There are numerous
existing policies and strategies that describe activities related to ICT for health in Nigeria,
some of which have been enacted and others that have not yet been signed off by the rel-
evant ministry or included in the Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Twelve national

18. G
     SMA mHealth Country Feasibility Report: Nigeria (2014). Available from:
20. S
     ustainable Financing for Mobile Health (mHealth): Options and opportunities for mHealth financial models in
    low and middle-income countries (2013). Available from:

                                                                                                                                     |   19
policies and strategies (drafts and fully endorsed documents) have been identified for their
                                 direct applicability to the ICT for health enabling environment.

                                 The earliest and most broadly encompassing of these documents is the National Health
                                 Policy of 2004. As time has progressed, the relevant documents become more specifically
                                 geared towards ICT for health (refer to Figure 2). To illustrate this point, the most recent
                                 documents, which are still being drafted, directly address ICT for health. In addition, a minis-
                                 terial committee housed within the FMCT has been working towards harmonizing ICT policy
                                 across the different sectors.

                                 figure 2: Timeline of National Policies and Strategies

                                       National                           National Human              Nigeria Global        FCT eHealth
                                     Health Policy                      Resources for Health          Health Initiative   Policy and Policy
                                                                           Strategic Plan                Strategy         Implementation

                                         2004        2005   2006     2007      2008      2009     2010      2011      2012        2013    2014

                                            FMOH Integrated                                 National Strategic     National ICT     Health Information
                                           Disease Surveillance                            Health Development      Policy Draft     System Policy and
                                           and Response Policy                               Plan Framework                           Strategic Plan:
                                                                                                                                     2014-2018 (draft,
                                              Strategies for                                                                        not yet endorsed)
                                            Strengthening the
                                          Secondary Health Care                                                                      National eHealth
                                             Delivery Service                                                                          Policy Draft

                                 For more information on each of the documents, please refer to the appendix.

                                 There are several gaps that should be addressed to strengthen current and inform future
A ministerial                    policies and plans with respect to use of ICTs to improve health system performance:
committee                        multi-regulation, mal-alignment, stakeholder engagement and legal framework. While the
                                 FMCT has been tasked with harmonizing ICT policies across sectors, multi-regulation still
housed within the
                                 poses a problem in the ICT for health environment. For example, not all policies are in
FMCT has been                    alignment with the national health plans or existing policies and do not build upon previous,
working towards                  related policies. In addition, most policies do not have accompanying strategic documents
harmonizing ICT                  to guide planning and implementation. Furthermore, there is no clear guidance on how to
policy across the                formally engage stakeholders and ensure that all tools can integrate with the key tools and
different sectors.               systems currently being used by the government in the health domain. In addition, without
                                 an appropriate legal framework, the government is unable to properly enforce compliance to
                                 policy and regulations, and as such, activities to address the gaps may yield limited success.

                                 It is recommended that a national eHealth policy be developed that builds off existing
                                 momentum and policy precedent, while simultaneously addressing the above gaps. Such
                                 an informed policy would setup an enabling environment for the coordinated, systematic
                                 and strategic scale-up of ICT solutions for health. The policy must also setup systems for
                                 sustained accountability and compliance, policy revisions, reviews of ICT for health imple-
                                 mentations, guidelines for stakeholder engagement, and a legal framework addressing
                                 patient safety and privacy21.

                                 21. P
                                      atient Privacy in a Mobile World: A Framework to Address Privacy Law Issues in Mobile Health (2013). Available

Standards and Interoperability

Adoption of health informatics standards is a prerequisite for interoperability of health
information systems. Setting standards and technical guidelines for collection, storage and                        Adoption of
exchange of health information facilitates access to accurate data in a timely, secure fashion,                    health informatics
enabling continuity of care across place, provider, and encounter and leading to a health
                                                                                                                   standards is a
system that can monitor itself and continuously improve.
                                                                                                                   prerequisite for
The Federal Government of Nigeria has recognized the importance of standards and                                   interoperability of
interoperability and has mandated their use in several policies, including the National Health                     health information
Policy, Strengthening Secondary Health Care Service Delivery, the Integrated Disease Sur-                          systems.
veillance and Response Policy, the National Strategic Health Development Plan Framework,
the Nigeria Global Health Initiative Strategy, the National ICT Policy, and the FMCT eHealth
Policy. Despite this, the application of standards and interoperability best practices in Nigeria
faces many challenges, including limited uptake of health informatics standards, limited
capacity and awareness, lack of engagement in international standards development pro-
cesses, limited coordination and alignment across public and private actors, and inadequate
governance structures.

No national body has been appointed with developing endorsing specific health informatics
standards within Nigeria22. Nigeria generally does not participate in international health infor-
matics standards development activities, such as those led by the International Organization
for Standardization Technical Committee on Health Informatics, Health Level 7, or Integrating
the Health Enterprise. Nigeria also lacks national guidelines and requirements for privacy,
security, and auditing of health information, which results in each department and agency
being responsible for their own, often conflicting, policies.

Officially appointing a transparent body to administer and develop health informatics stan-
dards for Nigeria would go a long way to addressing the poor uptake23, and there are some
signs of a growing appetite for this. In late 2013, the National Council for Health approved
a resolution that appointed the FMOH Department of Health Planning Research and Sta-
tistics as the official administrator of the 250-indicator primary health center report, which
all 37,000 health facilities in the country are required to submit into the National Health
Management Information System (NHMIS) each month. But this does not go far enough.
A national body would govern reporting indicators, clinical documentation requirements,
interoperability and integration requirements, architectural guidelines, as well as privacy,
security, and auditing requirements.

The ICT for health workforce consists of health workers who are trained to use ICT systems
and ICT workers who are skilled at building, implementing, maintaining, and scaling up these                       Appropriate
systems along with the infrastructure required to support them. The federal government is                          incentives should
committed to capacity building within the ICT and related sectors, but ICT skills training in
the health sector, in particular, is lacking. One of the more significant challenges has been
                                                                                                                   be identified and
recruiting ICT-trained individuals out of the more lucrative private sector.                                       used in conjunction
                                                                                                                   with training and
It will be crucial to provide training on basic ICT skills to ensure technical literacy24, and ensure              implementation.
that supervisors and decision-makers are aware of end-user needs. However, it appears that
such capacity building has not yet taken place; there is no plan or strategy.

A plan and partnerships should be identified to help carry out capacity building as a
part of SURE-P and other programs. Best practices and lessons learned can and should
be documented and used to help develop a coordinated plan or strategy that will meet

22. T
     he Standards Organization of Nigeria was established in 1971 to administer and serve as technical lead for
    standards development activities in-country for industry, but health was excluded from its mandate.
23. T
     he State of Standards and Interoperability for mHealth (2013). Available from:

                                                                                                                                     |   21
capacity-building needs among intended end-users in the health system. A means to carry
                                 out capacity building is through formal institutions (i.e., schools, continued education).
                                 Institutional capacity training for trainers and trainees, alike, should be strengthened. Core
                                 competencies should be established and integrated into a training curricula. Also, appropri-
                                 ate incentives should be identified and used in conjunction with training and implementation.


                                 Infrastructure is concerned with the physical infrastructure (e.g., connectivity, electricity,
The telecom-                     hardware, directory services) and software components (e.g., electronic health records
munications                      (EHRs)/electronic medical records (EMRs), health information datasets) that contribute to
                                 the ICT for health enabling environment.
sector in Nigeria
has undergone                    The telecommunications sector in Nigeria has undergone significant growth25. Over 62% of
significant growth.              the population has access to a mobile phone26 and there are over 173 million mobile phone
                                 subscriptions27. While, broadband subscriptions remain low, forecasting indicates that such
                                 services will become more affordable. Through the Galaxy Backbone initiative, a national fiber
                                 optic backbone (for broadband) will be present in even the most rural areas of the country28.
                                 However, the capacity for software development remains limited. Furthermore, with limited
                                 financing for the health system, maintaining the health infrastructure (i.e. facilities, medical
                                 equipment) has been a challenge. Additionally, traditional grid electricity supplies are not
                                 fully reliable. [Please refer to the report, “Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for
                                 Health in Nigeria: A Landscape and Inventory”, for more details on infrastructure in Nigeria.]

                                 Although the public and private sectors are taking steps to improve infrastructure related
                                 to ICT for health, a digital divide exists between rural and urban areas. There are high costs
                                 to both consumers and corporations; to consumers the costs are in obtaining services and
                                 for corporations, expanding services is costly. Incentives should be identified to promote
                                 expansion of affordable services to rural areas. Also, sustainable health financing mecha-
                                 nisms should be established and a sub-set flagged for the improvement and maintenance of
                                 facilities, power, Internet and other infrastructure.

                                 Services and Applications

                                 Services and applications refer to the actual ICT tools and systems used in the delivery
The ICT for                      and administration of health, consisting of individual electronic health information, health
health enabling                  care communications and collaboration, healthcare service delivery, health information
                                 and knowledge and healthcare management and administration. Projects in Nigeria span
environment is
                                 all of the aforementioned uses. Specific examples of types of tools include hospital-based
‘developing and                  EHRs, decision-support tools, disease surveillance tools, patient monitoring and care and
building up’.                    distance learning applications. The concurrently published report, “Assessing the Enabling
However, obstacles               Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Landscape and Inventory”, described 84 ICT for
remain to further                health projects at varying levels of scale and technological maturity. Most eHealth services
accelerate progress              in Nigeria are SMS-based, data applications, pre-loaded applications or accessible through
                                 web-based portals. The majority of services have been directed towards maternal and child
and transition to                health. Furthermore, there is a precedent for national coverage – as 22 of the initiatives
the next stage of                reported nationwide coverage. Moreover, most states have more than 20 on-going ICT for
evolution.                       health implementations. It is important to note that fragmentation is an issue and rigorous
                                 evaluations have only been conducted on a small number of projects.

                                 Despite FMCT attempts to harmonize ICT policy and initiatives, the current lack of har-
                                 monization across projects translates to a lost opportunity for capturing data in national

                                 25. G
                                      SMA mHealth Country Feasibility Report: Nigeria (2014). Available from:
                                 26. Ibid.
                                 28. h

information systems to further enhance decision-making. In addition, the fragmentation
underlines the inability to systematically and securely share health information amongst
providers and facilities for such activities as referrals and longitudinal patient care. Minimal
reporting and interoperability requirements, along with secure and integrated reporting and
project portals, should be established.

summary of findings
The ICT for health enabling environment is well on its way to ‘developing and building up’
from ‘experimentation and early adoption’. The awareness, interest and commitment to ICT
for health is present in both the public and private sector, as evidenced by growing govern-
ment leadership, multiple policies addressing elements of ICT for health, and the numerous
services and applications already being implemented in the country.

However, many obstacles remain to further accelerate progress and transition the health ICT
system to ‘scale-up and mainstreaming’, the next stage of evolution identified in the WHO-         It is recommended
ITU eHealth Strategy Toolkit. There is no unifying ICT for health strategic framework and no       that a national
platform exists to support sustained dialogue and collaboration across public and private
sectors. Existing implementations and policies are fragmented. In the private sector, there
                                                                                                   eHealth policy be
has been significant growth in ICT services offered, but in order for the sector to continue to    developed that
flourish, investments must be made to improve infrastructure especially to less economically       builds off existing
developed regions. Sustainable financing mechanisms need to be identified, and the private         momentum and
sector can and should be engaged in this endeavor. As progress continues, efforts should           policies.
be made to ensure the systematic alignment of ICT for health with health sector strategies
and priorities.

The following table outlines the findings from the review of the Nigeria ICT for health
enabling environment. Strengths, gaps and recommendations to address those gaps are
included. Additional information on the gaps identified through this analysis, along with
recommendations, are discussed in more detail in the final section of this report.

                                                                                                                    |    23
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