Nigerian Telemedicine Development Alliance (NTDA)
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).
NTDA Advocacy Thrusts
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.
New Frontiers in Nigerian Telemedicine
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.
The Genesis of SFTeHIN
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 and e-health.
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.
NTDA was finally rested in December 2007 and Dr Francis Ohanyido took up the mantle of Deputy Secretary-General of SFTeHIN.