With the advancement of technologies such as smartphones, cellular services, and apps, a new trend of telehealth services is helping the country’s patients and caregivers manage a better work plan and keep diseases at bay.
By Shahnawaz Ramey
With the influx of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus, not only the general public but also people who have sworn to protect us from it are at risk. As the number of cases and hospitalizations is increasing in the country by the day, it is becoming important to utilize technology in a way that helps both the patient and the doctor. With the advancement of technologies such as smartphones, cellular services, and apps, a new trend of telehealth services is helping the country’s patients and caregivers manage a better work plan and keep diseases at bay.
Telehealth services typically refer to the idea of removing physical visits by caregivers to patients by connecting them through technology for a proper diagnosis. The model although previously replicated primarily for providing mental health support has advanced leaps and bounds to include physical ailments as well. With the power of technology, now patients and doctors can access services and diagnoses from even remote areas in Pakistan. This model of providing health care facilities is picking up traction and popularity for reaching patients who are either unable to travel to hospital or live in remote areas. The model is also being implemented all over the world in countries that are severely war-affected and where health care facilities are compromised.
Speetar is one such initiative started by three men in Pakistan and a doctor in Libya. It was started by Shoaib Akmal, Zohaib Akmal, and Asim Ajmal from Pakistan and Dr. Muhammed Aburawi from Libya. The tech side is based in Islamabad with a cloud-based app and COVID19 assessment and reporting features. A social enterprise, Speetar was incubated at Harvard Medical School’s SICI (Social Innovation and Change Initiative) and MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund. At MIT, Speetar also received a $USD 20,000 grant.
While playing a crucial role in Libya’s in the fight against the novel coronavirus, Speetar may just be one of the many telehealth apps currently available to address the Covid-19 crisis in Pakistan where people are more prone to using technology than in Libya. Although Speetar is not the first of its kind app in Pakistan, it certainly is the most robust and expansive. It can unify all relevant information and data in one place where it can be accessed and utilized to draw better strategies to control infectious diseases like dengue, malaria, and polio. Speetar looks towards itself as not only a solution to managing and predicting the flow of COVID19 but also as a meaningful way for health practitioners and medical experts to tackle diseases and illnesses beyond that. Speetar boasts of a triangulation technique that can help tackle the issue of identifying clusters and groups of infections for contingency measures now and administering the vaccine when it is developed.
“We want to engage with the government of Pakistan like we are doing in Libya, and support the national efforts to fight and eradicate difficult diseases from the country,” Speetar Pakistan’s CEO and cofounder Shoaib Akmal says.