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Robotic Surgery possibility in Nigeria

Surgeries are more reliable when performed with these technologies, as these robots are designed to analyze pre-operation data from medical records of the patient to guide the instruments of the surgeons during operation.

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surgical-robots, Robotic Surgery possibility in Nigeria

Life has evolved from the old ways of performing things to more modern, fascinating and effective methods. Healthcare is not immune to this trend. In ancient times, surgery was more often than not considered a death sentence. This was largely due to the crude tools that were used, the lack of antibiotics and antiseptics to sterilize and anaesthetics to sedate or knock out the patient.

Patients had to undergo surgery completely conscious and endure excruciating pain. Many patients will later die of infections and complications. Nowadays, surgeries are performed with the patient casually conversing with the surgeon about football teams or favourite soap operas or musical groups and chances of success are much higher than before. In fact, people can opt for surgery where there is no immediate need (such as appendectomies).

An evolving trend in healthcare is integrating advanced technology with surgical practices. Many developed countries are towing this path. Artificial Intelligence is one of these advancements, has increased precision in surgical procedures through the use of robotic systems. Surgeries are more reliable when performed with these technologies. Some of these robots are designed to analyze pre-operation data from medical records of the patient to guide the instruments of the surgeons during operation.

READ ALSO: Meet Silas Adekunle, the highest paid robotic engineer in the world

Robots are used to perform minimally invasive surgery, giving more precision and lesser complications. They are used in procedures which require delicate and intricate movements of the surgeons. Arguably, the most advanced surgery robot of the modern-day is the da Vinci System, a one-of-a-kind robotic system manufactured by Intuitive Surgical company of Silicon Valley and approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States in the year 2000. Touted as a breakthrough in minimally invasive surgery, the robot bears multiple advantages when used in the operating room.

How far are we from Robotic Surgeries in Nigeria?
Currently, no surgical robot is being implemented today in Nigeria. There is also no documented use of any of the past utilized surgical robot in the history of Nigerian medicine. On the other hand, South Africa has used the da Vinci system for surgeries since its first use in 2015. In fact, there are five of these robots currently used in South Africa.
Nigerian healthcare is already fraught with so many problems that the introduction of robots for surgical practice looks like a tall dream for the country. Some of which include:

  • Poor budgeting to public health by the Nigerian government. Due to this, many medical facilities are in poor condition and have severely deteriorated as such the healthcare provided is completely substandard. Despite the availability of medical specialists within the country, poor quality materials and medical facilities are being managed by the specialists, not contributing enough to medical treatment.
  • National budgeting is required to repair and replace these infrastructures and provide new ones in places that lack them and so it cannot be diverted to providing these robots as they tend towards expensive. The da Vinci system costs $2 million dollars (about ₦720 million) as of today, which the Nigerian budget cannot manage right now with more immediate concerns to cover.
  • A growing population- more and more people will require medical services, and in many hospitals, there is not enough space to accommodate patients in need of hospitalization, or doctors to tend to these numbers. As a result, a large number of patients usually remain on waitlists for surgeries, even those that require immediate attention.
  • No maintenance culture- new innovative technology may not last very long in Nigerian hospitals as proper maintenance will not be given to them. Monetary problems aside, maintenance and repairs are often skipped as the equipment are misused.
  • Training- even if these innovations can be acquired, specialists may need to be imported from overseas to train surgeons on how to use the robots. Sometimes, the surgeons may have to travel abroad for training themselves adding to costs incurred.
  • Power supply- unfortunately, Nigeria is a country where electricity supply is not stable. The fluctuation in power supply has hindered the effective use of machinery in various industries, including the health sector. Imagine a power outage when a patient is being administered oxygen therapy by an electrically powered device. In this case, a power outage during a surgical procedure involving robots can produce a magnitude of problems.
    Sadly, Nigeria is not ready for the advent of robotic surgery at the moment and will not be until the healthcare system is fixed and meets up with standards of the developed countries will take a significant period of time and commitment on the part of the Nigerian government to actualize.

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Tech

Facebook takes on Zoom with its new video chat feature

Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million.

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Facebook widens anti-fake news project to 10 more African countries, Facebook just changed its logo, here’s why , Facebook launches new payment platform, Facebook Pay, Startups in Facebook Accelerator Programme raise $500,000 , Facebook to pay $550 million to settle privacy violations lawsuit , Facebook builds a gaming app, Facebook is building high speed internet connectivity to Nigeria, Facebook Takes on Zoom with its New Video Chat Feature

Virtual Meetings have exploded in recent months with the Coronavirus outbreak forcing people to start working and socializing from home. Video-calling services have seen a sharp rise during the coronavirus pandemic with options like Zoom and its daily active users growing to 300 million in April.

Another popular option, the Houseparty, owned by Fortnite-maker Epic Games has been downloaded more than two million times as at the beginning of March and other apps, such as Microsoft Teams, offer premium features for free.

With the current trend and the need to meet the demands of teleconferencing, Facebook is jumping into video chat game with its product feature, Messenger Rooms, a new feature that will allow up to 50 people to take part in a video chat, even if they don’t have Facebook accounts.

Facebook has had a long and notorious history of expanding its features to emulate major competitors, from first launching stories on Instagram in 2016 as a clone of Snapchat. Now Facebook wants more of the video market and is trying to take on the now popular video sharing platform, Zoom (ZM).

(READ MORE: Google, Facebook extend remote working for employees)

Previously, the messenger video calls were limited to eight people but with this new video feature ‘Messenger Rooms,’ users can currently host a meeting with up 50 people at once with no time limit on its messenger app, it will also be added to the company’s other applications- WhatsApp will see that the maximum number of people who can simultaneously join a video call will increase from four to eight.

Zoom founder reacts to criticism over app security as surge meets company unprepared, Facebook Takes on Zoom with its New Video Chat Feature

This new feature will be available on beta versions of WhatsApp for both Android and iOS. For making a video call with up to eight people, your WhatsApp must be running version 2.20.133 on Android and version 2.20.50.25 on iOS. The other condition is, the other participants that you’re looking to video and voice call, must also have the same beta version of WhatsApp running on their devices.

What’s the Catch?

Although these Messenger Rooms won’t be completely private, WhatsApp video and voice calls with up to eight people, will be end-to-end encrypted so no one else can view or listen in on private conversations, not even Facebook. Basically, end-to-end encryption is one of the main Unique Selling Points (USP) of the new video feature. Facebook is working to bring the security protocol to Messenger and Instagram Direct, so users will potentially be able to cross-platform chat across all these services one day, it’s easier said than done.

Like house party, the messenger rooms will let people drop in and out of the group video chats while the “room” is open just the way people have the ability to bump into each other in the physical world. Another catch of the new video feature is that users can create a Messenger Room that will be able to keep their room private, block unwanted participants, and send invitations to people who are not on Facebook.

Facebook is working to prevent the reoccurring issues its competitor’s faced like the “Zoombombing problem,” which let uninvited guests drop into video calls to abuse participants or share pornography.  The company is working with cryptographers to make the links for the Messenger Rooms difficult for hackers to guess. Although, publicly discoverable rooms will be listed at the top of the Facebook news feed and chats will not be end-to-end encrypted. Possibly, this would be one of the reasons why Facebook may successfully take on Zoom with its security and end-to-end encrypted tactics.

Other features of the new video feature include:

  • The ability to add eight people to a WhatsApp video call – up from four.
  • The return of “Live With”, which lets users host Facebook Live streams with another person, to bring guests or performers on to their show.
  • The ability to watch Instagram live videos on desktop computers.
  • Participants will be able to use augmented reality filters and change their background in real-time.

 

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Tech

Tech Roundup S02E19

The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports

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Tech Weekly RoundUp, coronavirus, Week 8, wole

We conclude our Fintech Roundtable series, this time with a discussion on Fintech related investments.

The Nigeria tech space has seen major validation from global investors over the last few years, and reports show that over $400 million went into Fintech startups in 2019, and amid Covid-19, Nigeria based Fintechs have announced new rounds of investment this year but will this trend continue.

READ ALSO: PWC report details how COVID-19 will impact Nigerian FinTechs

To help us unpack this, this panel discussion was led by Deji Sasegbon, Director of Platforms at EchoVC and a returning guest on
the show.

We covered several topics but focused on what investors might be doing differently going forward and how Investments in Fintech ideas and businesses across Africa might be impacted going forward.

Hope you find the episode interesting.

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Tech

Digital Financial Literacy, a must for every Nigerian in Post-COVID

Nigeria has set a 95% digital literacy target for the next ten years under a Digital Economy Strategy in order to ramp up the contributions of the ICT sector to the Nigerian economy.

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Digital Financial Literacy, a must for every Nigerian post Covid-19

The importance of digital literacy in the furtherance of Nigeria’s economic growth is a topic that has proven to be extremely paramount especially in these forced changing times.

Truth is, talent training outlets are not in short supply in Nigeria; from Decagon to Learn Factory; there are a number of programmes offering advanced and specialized digital literacy skills in fields like software development, machine learning etc.

As a matter of fact, Nigeria has set a 95% digital literacy target for the next ten years under a Digital Economy Strategy in order to ramp up the contributions of the ICT sector to the Nigerian economy and last year, the sector accounted for 13.8% of the nation’s GDP which is more than the oil and gas sector on which the country has previously been heavily reliant.

The Lagos State Government since this pandemic collaborated with Microsoft Office to train 18,000 secondary school teachers on digital literacy in order to equip, train, and engage them to deliver on their duties through technology during this lockdown period.

(READ MORE: Digital financial services amid COVID-19)

However, digital financial literacy is a niche that still has not become mainstream as many would assume. For the reason of the evident gap in the country, we have companies like NetPlusDotCom organizing webinars to educate Nigerians on the importance of an inevitable shift to digital payments and financing post-COVID-19.

Digital Financial Literacy, a must for every Nigerian post Covid-19

Unfortunately, there are a few challenges hindering the growth of digital financial literacy in Nigeria, they include:

  • Policy Implementation: Already set regulations geared towards promoting digital literacy are not readily implemented.
  • The regular school curriculum does not reflect a component of digital literacy skills that would be relevant in the future of work.
  • High costs of infrastructures such as the Internet and power is one of the challenges faced in promoting digital financial literacy in Nigeria.
  • There is a digital divide due to the existence of unreached communities who are not aware of the concept of digital literacy.
  • Digital literacy has been termed too difficult to conceptualize resulting in unnecessary complexity for the understanding of the process to a layman.
  • Resistance to Change: The general attitude of people towards change and what digital literacy offers, is a hindrance in promoting digital financial literacy.
  • Skepticism of many unenlightened Nigerians.

(READ MORE: Facebook is building $1 billion high speed internet across Africa)

Proposed Solutions

  • More citizen engagement and awareness of existing and new policies on digital literacy.
  • Investment in research and development by the government and other institutions to help Nigerians be more conversant on international standards as it concerns promoting digital literacy.
  • There should be a collaboration between organizations whose works are centered on digital literacy with schools in actualizing a more robust curriculum.
  • The government should provide tax incentives/ reliefs for telecoms to enable them to reduce the costs of data. Telecoms can also provide ICT parks to allow for access to the internet.
  • On inclusion, collaboration between Government, Multilateral organizations, and civil society groups should be considered to reach underserved communities possibly in the local language so as to avoid the language barrier.
  • To ward off resistance to change, there should be orientation programs on the need and importance of digital literacy using the bottom-top approach of reaching out to grass-root individuals.

 

 

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