SCIDaR is proud to be a leading force in improving healthcare access in Nigeria. Partnering with VillageReach, we are supporting the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) in a groundbreaking implementation research project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This initiative tackles the challenge of reaching underserved communities within Lagos state by harnessing the potential of telemedicine as a tool for delivering essential primary care services.

Our approach unfolds in two key phases. First, a comprehensive technical learning assessment was conducted. We surveyed 1,064 households across 64 underserved wards, with a particular focus on understanding the healthcare needs and preferences of women. Additionally, in-depth interviews with 21 telehealth service providers provided valuable insights into their operations and areas for improvement.

Building on this foundation, a multi-stakeholder workshop was held in November 2023. Representatives from government agencies, telehealth providers, the consortium itself, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation came together to collaboratively refine four key hypotheses that will be tested across different telehealth models in the next phase.

This research identified four promising models with the potential to effectively serve Lagos’ underserved populations: hotlines, market kiosks, community pharmacy kiosks, and mobile applications. Following these discoveries, we met with the Permanent Secretary of LASHMA in February 2024 to solidify plans for the iterative learning phase.

The next stage will involve a hands-on evaluation process. Utilizing Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles, we will work with three selected telehealth service providers to meticulously assess the effectiveness of their existing models. This evaluation will focus on reach, user adoption, implementation feasibility, and long-term sustainability within pre-identified wards of Lagos state.

The ultimate objective of this project is to establish cost-effective, data-driven telehealth models that can be implemented through public-private partnerships. This will ensure long-term accessibility of essential healthcare services for underserved communities in Lagos and potentially serve as a blueprint for wider healthcare improvements across Nigeria. SCIDaR remains firmly committed to harnessing innovation to bridge healthcare gaps and empower communities with the resources they need to thrive.