The Impact of Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria: A Review


  • IU Ezeani
  • GC Okwuonu
  • II Chukwuonye
  • M Nkpozi



Background: Telemedicine practice is a rapidly evolving aspect of medicine in developed countries, though resource-limited countries like Nigeria are yet to embrace it fully. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited patients’ visits to hospitals in addition to the social distancing measures deployed by the government. In addition, with the challenges of a limited number of doctors, among other difficulties, it has become important that a radical approach to patient care and treatment should be explored.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review of original articles was done using an internet search. Words such as Telemedicine, COVID-19, Pandemic, Requirements, History, Benefits, and Challenges were searched on Google scholar, EMBASE, PubMed, Medline, Web MD, and Scopus to check for various articles published or any probable link. The references of the relevant articles were searched.

Results: The practice of telemedicine has evolved over the years. Also, the global telemedicine market has grown exponentially and is expected to grow even further in the next five years. Unfortunately, this exciting narrative is not obtainable in developing countries like Nigeria. Indeed, some healthcare providers in Nigeria need to prepare for this new technological advancement, and consequently, they struggle to evolve their practice to adopt this new technology. Furthermore, there is disinterest from most of the end users, particularly the patients.

Conclusion: Modifications must involve telemedicine services with a view of getting ready and well-organized in the event of any future pandemic such as COVID-19, in addition to harnessing the benefits of this service in the future.


Nigerian Center for Disease Control. First case of Coronavirus disease confirmed in Nigeria. 2020. Ava-ilable at: Accessed on 12 November 2022.

Quarantine Act of 1926, 14 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria Cap. Q2 (rev. ed. 2004) Available at: Accessed on 13 November 2022.

Institute of Medicine (US.) Committee on Evaluating Clinical Applications of Telemedicine. Telemedicine: A Guide to Assessing Telecommunications in Health Care. Field MJ (Editor). Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1996.

World Health Organization. Telemedicine: opportunities and developments in member states. Report on the second global survey on eHealth. World Health Organization; 2010.

Nesbitt TS. The evolution of telehealth: where have we been and where are we going?In: Board on Health Care Services; Institute of Medicine. The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US) 2012.

Telemedicine was Predicted in 1925. Smithsonian. 2012.

Freiburger G, Holcomb M, Piper D. The STARPAHC Collection: Part of an Archive of the History of Telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 2007;13: 221-223.

Bashshur RL, Krupinski EA, Thrall JH, Bashshur N. The empirical foundations of teleradiology and related applications: a review of the evidence. Telemedicine e-Health 2016;22:868-898.

Dwyer TF. Telepsychiatry: psychiatric consultation by interactive television. Am J Psychiatry 1973;130:865–869.

Menon AS, Moynihan S, Garcia K, Sargsyan A. How NASA Uses Telemedicine to Care for Astronauts in Space: Cambridge. Harvard Business Publishing. 2017. Accessed 27 October 2020.

Matej M. Global telemedicine market size in 2019 and a forecast for 2026: Health and pharmaceuticals- Medical Technology. Statista 2020. Accessed 25 October 2020.

Asim K, Michael A, Dettloff K, Wani F, Zain E, Singh J, et al. Telemedicine, the current COVID-19 pandemic and the future: a narrative review and perspectives moving forward in the USA. Fam Med Comm Health 2020;8:e000530.

Population total- Nigeria. Accessed 26 October 2020.

World Health Organization. The global health observatory: Medical doctors (per 10 000 population). available at

Kharas H, Hamel K, Hofer M. Future Development: The start of a new poverty narrative. Brookings, 2018. Accessed 26 October 2020.

World Health Organization, Global Observatory Data. Density of physicians: total number per 1000 population, Situation and trends.

Udeozu T. Everything You Need to Know About Telemedicine In Nigeria. Custodian Culture 2022. Available at:

Allagoa DO, Kemelagha FA, Ighedose LO, Tella AO. Telemedicine in Nigeria: A Medium to the Underserved Communities. Yenagoa Med J 2020;2:135-144.

Matawalli A Ibrahim A. Health Care Using Telemedicine: A Case Study of Yobe State, Nigeria. Int J Computer Sci Network 2014:3:5-11.

American Academy of Allergic Asthma and Immunology. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep.2018;18:60.

Hasselfeld BW. Benefits of Telemedicine. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 27 October 2020.

Hjelm NH. Benefits and drawbacks of telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 2005;11:60-70.

Chiron Health. Advantages of Telemedicine for Patients. Definitive Guide to Telemedicine. Accessed 27 October 2020.

Kompletecare. Kompletecare Benefit Package. Accessed 28 October 2020.

Medical News Today. Telemedicine benefits: For patients and professionals: Newsletter. 20 April 2020. Accessed 28 October 2020.

Telemedicine and the Future of Healthcare in Nigeria: Legal, Regulatory and Policy Considerations. Communiqué Issued Following a Webinar. Jackson, Etti and Edu. August 2020. Accessed on 28 October 2020.

Adeoye DA. Telemedicine and Law in Nigeria: Need For Proper Legal Framework. The PALM: Insights. January 2020. pp 22-32. proper-legal-framework-adeoye-damilare-adetayo-esq/. Accessed 28 October 2020.

E-visit. 7 trends shaping the future of telemedicine. 2020. Accessed 5t November 2020.

Codete Healthtech: 9 predictions about the future of telemedicine and e-health. 2020 May. Accessed 05 November 2020.

Yuvrajsinh Vaghela. How AI can Change the Future of Telemedicine. Readwrite: 2020 20 September. Accessed 05 November 2020.

Modern Healthcare. Predicting the Future Role of Telemedicine. 2020 October. telemedicine. Accessed 05 November 2020.