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A Medical and Rotarian Collaboration - Telemedicine for Nigerian Hospital


A Medical and Rotarian Collaboration

Telemedicine for Nigerian Hospital

By Jane Rogan

On Sunday evening, August 23, in the Rose Garden at Sonoma West Medical Center, the ripple of human emotion at witnessing a dream come true could be felt even as the ocean breezes rustled the trees. After an introduction by Raymond Hino, CEO of Sonoma West Medical Center, each of the six members of the Telemedicine training team from Yenagoa, Nigeria told the reception how critical this technology is to saving lives in their country. 

The Princess Frances Kemelagha, MD, who has been central to the mission and worked diligently for several years to make this happen, told the group of supporters she is pinching herself now that she and her team from the Federal Medical Center in Yenagoa have arrived to begin the training.

“This technology goes two ways,” stated Dr. James Gude, Medical Director at SWMC, teacher and leader in the Telemedicine movement. “We are here to provide medical diagnoses and recommendations to Nigeria; and Nigeria will be trained to respond to us as well. If I get a case of Malaria in Sebastopol, I will know where to go for assistance.” Dr. Gude will teach the group how to set up grand rounds training sessions using video conferencing tools, so they – in turn – will be able to train others.

Sebastopol Sunrise RotaryMikel Cook, President of the Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary, as well as President of Global Off-site Care – central to the effort - told the group the Rotary international grant that brought the Nigerian team to Sebastopol was the biggest international grant ever to have been awarded to his club. “Talk is cheap,” Cook reminded us. “It is the collaboration and hard work of these dedicated people that made this a reality.”

The SWMC Foundation, led by Gail Thomas, also a Rotarian, worked with all stakeholders to arrange the training trip. “For the life-saving benefits of telemedicine, this trip emphasizes the deep connections between Sonoma West Medical Center and the world. Imagine, right here in Sebastopol.” Among those attending were SWMC Foundation donors, there to hear about this area of specialty and meet the participants.

The Nigerian telemedicine team consists of Princess Frances Kemelagha, MD; Dr. Finomo Finomo, Dr. Dennis Allagoa, Dr. Obioma Obikeze, Suleiman Hussain and Adeolu Tella. They have begun their intensive 8-day course, which features hands-on training with the RP-7 robot and other technological tools utilizing tablets and Wi-Fi network.

At Sonoma West Medical Center, every Wednesday morning at 8:00 am, Dr. Gude conducts grand rounds sessions from the telemedicine hub in Sebastopol.

Jane Rogan is on staff at the Sonoma West Medical Center