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May 10, 2019

‘85,000 female doctors in Pakistan not working after getting education’


May 10, 2019

There are around 85000 female doctors who have completed their medical education at the expense of the state or privately but they are not part of the medical workforce in Pakistan. If only 50 percent of these doctors are mobilised, 70 percent of health issues of people in low-income communities can be resolved, experts said on Thursday.

“A large number of women in lower-income group communities in Pakistan don’t have access to healthcare facilities, but there are thousands of out-of-profession female doctors who can be mobilised to serve these patients through telemedicine. This would not only lower disease burden but would also save thousands of lives in the country,” said Dr Sara Saeed, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sehat Kahani, a healthcare startup that is employing out-of-profession doctors to serve low-income communities.

The healthcare organisation has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Pakistan Cardiac Society to start educating patients about heart diseases, cholesterol and blood pressure monitoring so that cardiac-care awareness and treatment facilities could be provided to low-income group communities at their doorsteps.

Dr Saeed maintained that heart problems are no more confined to elite segment of the society as they are now more aware and take care of their health, but in the low-income group population and less educated people, hardly anybody knows about cholesterol monitoring, high blood pressure and other risk factors.

In order to provide cardiac-care consultation to patients who cannot visit cardiologists due to their economic and cultural problems, Sehat Kahani has entered into an agreement with the Pakistan Cardiac Society, through which female doctors would educate patients about their blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol testing and taking their history, while cardiologists associated with the Pakistan Cardiac Society would visit these communities regularly to provide free of charge consultation to patients.

“We have 25 clinics throughout the country of which six clinics are functioning in Karachi. Through our MoU with Pakistan Cardiac Society, we are going to start heart health education at our clinics, which would later be visited by the cardiologists to provide consultation to heart patients,” Dr Saeed said.

President Pakistan Cardiac Society (PCS) Dr Feroz Memon said that due to awareness and lifestyle modifications, people in other parts of the world were living healthy lives and their rate of having Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) was reducing, while in Pakistan the ratio of people having heart diseases was constantly on the rise, which should be alarming for the nation as well as for the authorities.

“Lack of awareness among our people is a major risk factor behind causing heart diseases to our people as Pakistani children and youngsters are programmed to have heart diseases, diabetes mellitus and hypertension as compared to other ethnic groups in the world due to their genes. But due to their unhealthy lifestyle, children as young as 12 to 18 years of age are having high blood pressure and diabetes while young man in their late 20s are and early 30s are dying due to heart attacks.”

Prof Memon said that there was an urgent need to conduct research and collect data to find out causes and prepare preventive strategies. He added that their collaboration with Sehat Kahani would yield positive results and help them in collecting valuable data and providing heart health consultation to marginalised segments of society.

He said: “In order to save our future generations, we have decided to promote the culture of research in the area of cardiology and in this regard, HealthRab is help in us for the last three years. We hope that this research and data collected by our young researchers would help us in saving thousands of lives annually,” he added. General Secretary Pakistan Cardiac Society and eminent cardiologist Prof Ishtiaq Rasool and others also spoke.

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