How Telemedicine Has Helped Pakistan Combat COVID-19 Pandemic

PAKISTAN: Telemedicine is considered as one of the most rapidly growing field here in Pakistan. With the developments in telecommunication industries, communication connectivity has improved remarkably all over Pakistan. Telemedicine has been around for over 40 years. It is an exchange of medical information between two ends through electronic communications. Doctors are using this method for giving their services across Pakistan. From advising to reviewing medical reports, doctors are utilizing this technology as much as they can.

In Pakistan, after the outbreak of COVID-19 in late February 2020, doctors have started online consultationfrom their setups or by affiliating themselves with some organizations. Similarly, the Federal Government of Pakistan and the provincial government like the Sindh government has started telemedicine programs independently or with the partnership of local health services. Many hospitals are also providing online consultation facilities to their patients.

After seeing the downfall of the health-care systems of some well-developed European countries, we were worried about our country. But with the indefatigable efforts of doctors and organizations, we are fighting with this pandemic quite effectively. The purpose of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic is not only to control this virus but also to lessen the burden from the health-care system.

It helps people across the country in so many ways. It not only facilitates people in urban areas but also rural people get benefit from it. You can get a medical consultation while sitting in your homes anywhere in the world. The telemedicine gets significance due to the social distancing requirement in this pandemic. And people around the globe realize, how easy and effective this telemedicine is. Similarly, in both patients and doctors are quite satisfied with this service.

Some of the different services by both public and private sectors are COVID19 Telehealth Portal by the federal government, Sindh mental health authority helpline by Sindh government, Marham- a private organization, and many more. These services are accessible through telephone calls, SMS services, mobile apps, official websites, or social media accounts.

Platforms like Marham provides you basic healthcare facilities, latest updates related to health, and connect you to the doctors. You can ask your queries related to health issues from professional health care providers on their health forums. Marham is also using social media websites like Facebook to provide a platform to directly ask questions about diseases, inquire about doctors, and locate their nearest available specialists. Their official YouTube channel also provides you doctors’ interviews on important health problems. More than 12000 doctors are registered with Marham and +2000 doctors are providing online consultation services. Every minute, 5 patients search for doctors on Marham.

Similarly, other platforms are also providing their best to facilitate people in this pandemic and ensure that people should stay at home. These platforms not only provide medical services related to coronavirus ailments but also giving consultations on other health problems. Some services are exclusively providing special services to female patients. Pregnant women are also getting proper online consultation from their doctors. Doctors advise not to leave your home unless or until it’s an emergency.

Hospitals and medical testing laboratories are also providing door to door services for sample collection. Similarly, blood and plasma donation services are also available online. You can contact the donors online.

Some pharmacy services are providing online facilities to order medicines and other health care supplies online via their official websites, mobile apps, SMS services, and 24/7 telephone helplines.

These are all steps taken by the government and local organizations of Pakistan to fight with this pandemic and provide health facilities as much as they can. And we are quite successful in declining the number of cases per day without collapsing our health care system.