Connecting female doctors to hard-to-reach female patients
When it comes to medical training and access to medical care, Pakistan is a country of extremes. While 80% of medical graduates are women, most female doctors do not practise medicine due to cultural resistance. At the same time, 95% of women in poverty are unable to access medical care.
doctHERs is on a mission to bridge the gap, using technology to allow female doctors to practise from home with the assistance of an onsite nurse. Screens are fitted in examination rooms in clinics that are underused by doctors, and a doctHER attends the consultations by video-link. The onsite nurse works with the online doctor to examine, diagnose and treat the female patients. The technology is simple but the effect is groundbreaking in a country where medical care for women is limited and maternal mortality is high.
The first prototype was tested in early 2014 in Sultanamad, an urban slum in Karachi. Over a six-month period, 60 antenatal, 23 infertility and 16 gynaecological patients were seen virtually by video consultation and seven safe deliveries were handled with the help of the doctHERs team. Following this success, doctHERs opened their first clinic in May 2015 in a slum near Karachi International Airport. They now also have clinics in Karachi’s Hijrat Colony and Mansehra in the north of Pakistan – and these are just the beginning.
The doctHERs team was awarded ‘Best in Health’ at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology Awards (GIST) in July 2015, and has been chosen as one of the 12 start-ups to be mentored by the Unreasonable Institute in Colorado, USA. They are continuing to recruit more doctors to join their team and looking for more locations across Pakistan where they can roll out their service.
Image ' NEC-Medical-137' courtesy of NEC Corporation of America.
Last updated: 24th of August, 2015