Healthcare is one of the core concerns worldwide. As sound body makes sound mind, but it is one of the major issues in countries like Pakistan, though a lot of work is being done on it. Healthcare in rural Pakistan and the careers of women doctors are being revolutionized as internet access grows across the country, where programs like “Sehat Kahani” are allowing people with limited mobility because of geography or civilization to interact online.
Healthcare in rural Pakistan is correlated with the health care takers. And it’s understood that there are more number of male doctors than female doctors, with lesser access to rural areas. There are still a big number of female doctors in urban parts. Women doctors more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) to the south in the port of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, face their own challenges, with their careers often put on ice. Most of them get married and become mothers in the traditional, patriarchal country.
Now technology has been integrated with healthcare in rural Pakistan, a Karachi-based health tech startup, “Sehat Kahani”, has deployed Skype to crack both problems at once by bringing work to the doctors and medical guidance to the villages.
Instead of visiting the “Sehat Kahani” clinic in the village patients speak face-to-face via video conferencing to a doctor in Karachi. The remote doctors offer a fresh solution to Pakistan’s struggling healthcare sector.
Men prefer to have doctors as wives rather than receptionists or hair stylists. They are not giving anything back to the country. So let them work and serve the country by bringing a positive change.
This “Sehat Kahani” healthcare center in rural Pakistan operates simply. First of all the patient sends all information to the doctor and then Doctor gets connected to the patient via Skype before making a diagnosis.
A “Sehat Kahani” representative at the clinic in Bhosa Raheel Tanvir said that 80% of women doctors quit this profession after getting married. As they are not allowed to continue their profession, so to overcome this problem a program has been started to bring back those female doctors who have left their profession to serve people who need them, specially the women of rural areas of Pakistan. They can continue their profession, can examine the patients while sitting at home and can also take care of their family.
Vice chancellor of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that the Bhosa clinic opened last September and since then has seen hundreds of patients each month, signifying the need for the female doctors’ and assisting centers of healthcare in rural areas of Pakistan.
Such areas not only lack in general healthcare issues but the country has one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and just 0.5-0.8 per cent of its GDP has been spent on the health sector in the past decade. Such “Sehat kahani” program is very helpful, particularly for female patients because it is close to the vicinity and adds upto healthcare in rural Pakistan.
Doctor Benish Ehsan do multitasking, care for her child as he sits on her lap, and she keep on doing her online examination of a young patient in Bhosa. In which she asked number of questions to patient through computer science such as; Is he using the bathroom, has the vomiting stopped or not? Advised the worried mother to feed her child with more fruit and vegetables. Along with prescribing her some medicines as her son was losing weight.
The program is empowering for stay-at-home mothers who also happen to be doctors. It suits women who cannot go outside and can carry on their career while sitting at home. Now women can enjoy their family life along with taking care of patients. And helping those who cannot travel all the way long to visit doctor.
The local government is also tuning in to the trend, setting up an e-ilaj, or e-treatment, centre in a village called Bilahi, with plans to expand in other remote areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. So that such healthcare services could be provided to anyone, anytime.
The government initiative is working in alliance with a local internet provider to bring medical facilities to 15 villages almost targeting more than 27,000 people. As there are less numbers of doctors to cater huge demand. Over past five years, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa provinces have treated more than 50,000 patients in such clinics such as “Sehat Kahani” centers. Along with bordering remote villages in Margalla Hills as well. Now this system with modern facilities is helping healthcare in rural Pakistan, adding up more to the medical services.