Satellites for survival: Saving lives in Nigeria

Watch the video to find out how satellites are saving lives in Nigeria.

AKURE, Nigeria — Agatha Emeka’s third birth was the most difficult she had experienced. Rebecca wasn’t breathing when she was born. 

“When the baby came out, we were somehow panicked,” recalled health worker Joseph Omosola, who works at the tiny health center in Onikokodiya village. “We thought, ‘Is this baby going to make it?’” 

Thinking on his feet, Omosola remembered that he had seen a video explaining how to resuscitate newborn babies using a bag valve mask.

Since internet connectivity reached the health center — thanks to a new satellite communications partnership — health workers now have access to online video training, which they can watch on tablets. Armed with this resource, Omosola was able to resuscitate baby Rebecca back to life.

More on the Nigeria International Partnership Programme: Harnessing satellite tech for public health

By using apps installed onto tablets, health care workers in Nigeria are able to access video trainings, conduct disease surveillance, circumvent the laborious standard paper system, and upload patient data directly onto the cloud.

The story is just one example of how satellite technology is revolutionizing health care in remote villages in Nigeria. Onikokodiya and the nearby village of Aseigbo, located in Nigeria’s southwestern state of Ondo, lie off the main grid and have neither electricity nor indoor plumbing, let alone 3G network coverage.

In addition to video training, internet connectivity allows health workers to access CliniPAK, an online data management system. This saves precious time and resources compared with the laborious paper system, which is often filled out in duplicate. 

“The International Partnership Programme has really helped this state in terms of data management, because we have a reduction in loss of data,” said Dr. Yetunde Olagbuji, director of planning at Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Board.

The IPP project is the result of a partnership between commercial satellite operator Inmarsat, social enterprise InStrat Global Health Solutions, public authorities in Ondo state and the UK Space Agency. It is part of a five-year program designed to connect U.K. space expertise with governments and organizations in emerging and developing economies around the world.

Read more about the impact of satellites in development work on our Satellites for Sustainability site.

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