PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in partnership with YouGov Research carried out the survey of over 12,000 people across 12 countries.
From the responses of 94 percent Nigerians, 85 percent in Turkey, 41 percent in Germany, and 39 percent in the United Kingdom, PwC stated that consumers are;
“Willing to talk to and interact with a device, platform or robot with AI that can answer questions, perform tests, make a diagnosis based on those tests and symptoms, and recommend and administer treatment.”
With 69 percent, Nigeria constituted the majority of respondents willing to undergo major surgery performed by a robot. Other respondents include Turkey (60 percent), South Africa (51 percent), Qatar (45 percent), Sweden (35 percent), and UK (27 percent).
According to the PwC report, respondents said they were also willing to allow a robot perform a minor surgical procedure instead of a doctor, if there was evidence that could do it better than human doctors.
Here again, Nigeria with 73 percent formed the majority of people willing to undergo minor surgery performed by robots, followed by Turkey (66 percent) and South Africa (62 percent).
Nigerians willingness to allow a robot operate on them may not be unconnected to the abysmal healthcare system in the country and the scarcity of qualified providers instead of an eagerness to embrace nascent technology.
The state of healthcare is a mainly behind the medical tourism most wealthy Nigerians undertake. The country is said to be losing about N1 billion annually to medical tourism.
Additionally, in 2015, the chairman, Association of Colleges of Medicine of Nigeria, Folashade Ogunsola disclosed that Nigeria has about 35,000 medical doctors working in the country. Whereas it needs about 237,000 to meet the ratio set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Recently the minister of health, Isaac Adewale noted that many of the medical doctors in the country still have to undergo training to be competitive in the global space.
Interestingly, most of the respondents cited better access to and accuracy of healthcare as behind the willingness to engage with new technology.
34 percent said healthcare would be easier and quicker for more people to access. 31 percent said it was due to faster and more accurate diagnosis. 27 percent indicated that new technology will make better treatment recommendations. Finally, 27 percent said they love the idea of having their own healthcare specialist, available any time and on any device.
The respondents also expressed concerns over new technology. For 47 percent of them, robots could not be relied upon to make the right decisions if anything was to go wrong. 38 percent believed maintaining human contact was critical when it has to do with their healthcare. About 36 percent of respondents said only a human healthcare professional can make the right decisions. 30 percent said they did not have sufficient knowledge of the new technology to know if it benefits them or not.