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Providing medicare from far distance

• UNIZIK chosen as pilot university for telemedicine collaboration in Nigeria, VC reveals during the 11th convocation

From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

You might have heard about telemedicine where one is able to access medical care miles away without bordering to join the long queue waiting to see the doctor physically in a hospital.

Defined as the use of telecommunication and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance, telemedicine helps eliminate distance barriers and can improve access to medical services that would often not be consistently available in distant rural communities. It is also used to save lives in critical care and emergency situations

Though this is still a novelty in this part of the globe, information gleaned from evisit.com showed that in 1959, doctors at the University of Nebraska were able to transmit neurological examinations to medical students across campus via a two-way interactive television. By 1964, they had built a telemedicine link that allowed them to provide health services at Norfolk State Hospital, 112 miles away from campus.

This kind of innovative health science delivery is here with us at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku broke the good news during the 11th convocation of the University held recently in Awka.

Ahaneku while delivering the Vice Chancellor’s address disclosed that UNIZIK has been chosen as a pilot university in Nigeria for telemedicine collaboration. He said the telemedicine deployment in Nigeria as the outcome of tripartite discussions between the Association of Nigerian Physicians in America (ANPA), the National Universities Commission and the Nigerian Research and Education Network (NgREN) which he revealed has been on since 2014.

He said the collaboration involves training, remote healthcare support and medical consultations through Internet connectivity. And, this, he added, holds lots of benefits for students, researchers, sick people and other medical personnel. While reeling out some of the progress report of his administration’s efforts to move Nnamdi Azikiwe University to greater heights, Prof. Ahaneku said that in a determination to ensure that research outcomes that have potentials to impact positively on the society new technologies are being developed and deployed for the benefit of the society. Toward this end, the Directorate of Research, Administration and University/Industry Relations, a creation of his administration, organised in April 2016 a sensitization workshop on intellectual property and technology transfer.

He said that related to this, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka has also been selected as one of the national institutions for the Technology and Innovation Support Centre (TISC) project, under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, whose mandate is to provide access to the objective for the establishment of the Technology and Innovation Support Centres in the promotion of innovation, scientific research and technology transfer.

Giving a breakdown of the 7887 graduands that took part in the 2016/2017 academic year convocation, the Vice Chancellor said 6550 are for first degrees, 288 for Post graduate diplomas, 846 for Masters Degree and 203 for Ph.D. He disclosed that UNIZIK students are receiving laurels and commendations in the various engagements with outside bodies.

The University as part of the convocation ceremonies honoured 70 best graduating students out of the various departments and fourteen faculties in the institution.  While giving them certificates of recognition and cash prizes, Prof. Ahaneku told them that the age long maxim which says that hard work pays is still a reality. He assured that despite the bottlenecks in the system presently, the university must find space to absorb them after their National Youth Service Scheme.

The Overall Best Graduating Student of the year, Ozofor Ikenna Henry of the Department of Chemical Engineering in a valedictory address thanked the Vice Chancellor and the university management for their commitment towards providing healthy and attractive environment for learning which he said is meeting the desired intents.

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