How Sehat Kahani is fighting Covid-19 through telemedicine in Pakistan

The Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise. It not only made a gigantic dent within the healthcare facilities globally, but also caused great destruction to the economic stability of major countries that were on the way to make slow but steady progress.

As the countries struggled to contain the virus by imposing partial and complete lockdowns, while juggling with facilities to quarantine the suspected patients and treat the infected ones, they also faced a critical challenge of making necessities of life available to the civilians.

Pakistan hasn’t been an exception to this chaos and its already struggling healthcare system is closer to a breakdown more than its has ever been. As the number of reported cases reach close to 155,000 on June 17, 2020, the country is witnessing sheer pain and fright among its citizens.

While the demand for quality healthcare system is only bound to rise, the current medical facilities have run out of both physical and human resources to cater to the medical needs of both Covid-19 infected patients and other patients suffering from various critical conditions.

Lockdown, closure of Out Patient Departments (OPD) in hospitals, risk of infection in hospitals, re-direction of health care staff towards emergency and isolation wards have only precipitated this issue.

The lack of access to healthcare facilities in close vicinities and a travel ban has only resulted in compromised primary healthcare throughout most of the country.

Article continues after this advertisement

In these times of trepidation and uncertainty, Sehat Kahani is offering an alternative to not only reduce the doubled burden of patients on the healthcare system of Pakistan during this pandemic, but also introducing a safe platform for quality consultation to people of all ages and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds through its mobile application.

As of 2019, 43 per cent of Pakistan’s population had access to a smartphone and in turn an internet connection, the two requirements needed for Sehat Kahani to provide high quality healthcare facilities throughout the country. The platform provides healthcare facilities to all patients irrespective of their socio-economic background and has made consultations free of cost since the last two months.

Through its extensive outreach and service delivery infrastructure, Sehat Kahani is ensuring that patients have access to highly certified female medical professionals and specialists. Stringent verification and evaluation mechanism through PMDC ensure that all their doctors have their PMDC information and qualifications visible on the application for each patient.

The key feature of the Sehat Kahani application is the facility of least or no mobility at all. This is the most integral element of healthcare support during a pandemic. The availability of a health specialist 24/7 for immediate consultation or by appointment provides ease of access without putting patients’ and their family’s lives at risk of exposure to the virus by visiting a consultancy clinic or hospital.

It also completely cuts off the transportation costs (given that the patient does not own a vehicle) and reduces financial stress in these times of severe economic strains.

Where the lay-offs of employees and payment cuts have put medical coverage of the bread-earners and their families at alarming risk, free consultation for Covid-19 through Sehat Kahani application ensures that no citizen of Pakistan is denied quality healthcare during these testing times.

Sehat Kahani has also stepped into an arrangement with Lady Health Worker programme starting from Punjab, where 100 lady health workers from far flung areas are connecting women and children of these otherwise compromised areas to qualified doctors through the Sehat Kahani application, free of cost.

It is safe to say that with organisations taking their social responsibility with the zeal displayed by Sehat Kahani, Pakistan will come out of this pandemic healthier and stronger.

Yusra Afzal
Majoring in Social Development and Policy with a concentration in Anthropology and a minor in Literature, Yusra Afzal is a graduate from Habib University. Her research interest areas include sexual and reproductive health and education planning in Pakistan. She has contributed to multiple research and development organisations and is currently working with Sehat Kahani.

Popular Posts