The Save One Million Lives (SOML) Initiative was launched in Abuja on October 16, 2012 by His Excellency, President Jonathan. Driven by the Federal Ministry of Health, it is a commitment the Nigerian Government has made to improve health outcomes throughout the country – to save one million lives by 2015. ICT4SOML is a multi-stakeholder initiative to strategically utilize ICTs in support of this commitment. The federal government has recognized the opportunity that information and communication technologies (ICT) present to help accelerate the achievement of SOML’s goals.
In enhancing the capacity of the Federal Ministry of Health to achieve SOML, the ICT4SOML project includes the UN Foundation, Intel, mHealth Alliance, GSMA, the Saving One Million Lives office and other key partners in Nigeria.
In support of the efforts of Federal Ministries of Health and Federal Ministry of Communication Technology and the ICT developmental agency, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), ICT4SOML examines the status of ICTs for health in Nigeria with a view to identifying ICT initiatives and measures to be taken to maximize investments in ICT, strengthen the health system and ultimately save the lives of one million women and children by 2015. In addressing capacity building, standards, policies and essentials for creating the enabling environment for sustainable ICTs for improved healthcare, a collaborative, multistakeholder approach is adopted by ICT4SOML to develop the needed strategies, frameworks and guidelines.
The ICT4SOML project is specifically geared towards helping the Federal Ministry of Health develop an ICT Framework to guide its use of ICTs in Nigeria related to saving the lives of one million women and children by the end of 2015. It has a focus on the building up of high-priority ICT-based programs in areas that include: demand generation of maternal-child health services through direct client messaging, mobile payments for conditional cash transfers, mobile inventory tracking of essential commodities, and the scale up of the National Health Management Information System.
National Health ICT Inventory for Nigeria
A critical component of the ICT4SOML project is the building of a National Health ICT Inventory to facilitate assessment of the state of eHealth/mHealth in the country required for developing the National Health ICT Strategy/Framework. A public call was made to professionals involved/linked with eHealth or mHealth projects in Nigeria and the intention is to catalogue all projects in Nigeria that are deploying ICT solutions to improve healthcare. Building the inventory will help in the planning and coordination of ICT for health efforts required to scale up access to essential primary health services and commodities for Nigeria’s women and children with the aim of saving one million lives.
As a first step, the ICT for health landscape review and accompanying inventory has been undertaken to provide a comprehensive picture of existing ICT for health implementations in Nigeria. Stakeholder and policy makers are urged to review the findings and recommendations in the reports with a view to improving Nigeria’s enabling environment for ICTs in health.
The ICT4SOML team is plans to start advocating/facilitating a National Health ICT Framework to guide ehealth and mhealth activities in Nigeria.
The following are reports prepared by the United Nations Foundation in Support of ICT4SOML:
- Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Landscape and Inventory
- Assessing the Enabling Environment for ICTs for Health in Nigeria: A Review of Policies