2016 Young Entrepreneurs Award Winner: Dr Sara Saeed

Initiative: Co-founder of doctHERs at the time of the Awards

Country of impact: Pakistan

A digital platform that connects qualified female doctors to patients who are unable to access affordable healthcare in Pakistan.

Dr Sara Seed receiving award from Paul Polmam and Polly Courtice

In Pakistan, socio-cultural barriers prevent many women who qualify as doctors from working. According to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, fewer than 13% of qualified female doctors actually go on to specialist practice.

Reintegrating women doctors into the workforce

The exclusion of qualified doctors from the healthcare workforce is particularly problematic in a country where 90% of the 120 million citizens who live below the poverty line have little or no access to quality healthcare.

Sara’s journey has evolved since 2016. Sara established Sehat Kahani which acquired all assets and clinical operations of doctHERs in order to continue the work of delivering healthcare to underserved communities in Pakistan by engaging with doctors (mainly female) via internet-enabled technologies and on-the-ground clinics. doctHERs continues as a novel healthcare marketplace, here is their story.

doctHERs connects impoverished communities to high-quality healthcare while reintegrating qualified female doctors into the workforce.

Providing high-quality health care

doctHERs converts existing community spaces into walk-in clinics. Patients attending the clinics are assessed by nurses or community health workers employed by doctHERs and connected to female doctors online using state-of-the-art telemedicine. The technology uses video alongside peripheral instruments operated by nurses in the clinic which are attached to the telemedicine system to diagnose patients remotely.

Patients from the lowest income bracket are charged around $1 per consultation. Those who are members of a health plan are charged $5. Fees are paid by cash or digitally using mobile banking technology.

Since 2015, doctHERs has directly impacted 15,000 lives through clinical services, 100,000 lives indirectly via community outreach and, now employs fifteen doctors, five nurses and five specialists. By 2020, doctHERS aims to scale its nurse-assisted video consultation programme to over 500 clinics across Pakistan, directly impacting 1.2 million people.

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