The government has been urged to promote new healthcare solutions that make use of cutting-edge digital technology

The government should encourage new healthcare solutions that use cutting-edge digital tools to help people get timely, affordable health care.

Sikandar Zaman, Managing Director and Founder of WoW Health, told Business Recorder that accessibility and affordability were major issues that Pakistanis faced when it came to health services. “Citizens frequently could not reach the relevant doctor or an available doctor, which usually complicates matters for the patient due to delays in reaching relevant specialists and being mistreated in the hands of local healthcare professionals without knowing whether they are genuine or fake.”

“There are many problems that hinder Pakistanis from getting timely, affordable health treatment. There are certain cases when going to a doctor is simply not possible.

“Almost 60 percent of the population resides in rural areas, and one doctor is available for 4,327 people. Looking at these stats, we can say with absolute certainty that bringing accessibility to the healthcare sector is absolutely necessary. The fact of the matter is that quality care needs to be available to everyone, everywhere and anytime.”

He went on to say that mainstreaming digital health services could help close gaps in the health workforce and improve timely and professional medical advice, particularly for women and the elderly.

“Keeping in mind the desperate need of Pakistan to address two key challenges of the health sector – affordability and accessibility, we founded this start-up WoW health to cater for the needs of citizens to reach relevant, certified and qualified doctors via phone call rather than going to quacks sitting in the street and corners of the country. With this service, anyone can consult a relevant doctor for less than rupees 100 over a phone call 24/7 and can save time and money in the time when the country is going through a tough economic situation and every citizen is being affected by that,” Zaman said.

Out-of-pocket spending in the healthcare sector is exorbitant. Physicians alone cost more than $14 billion per year. These include appointments for minor health issues such as the common cold and flu. In addition, 287.002 billion is spent on pharmaceuticals, with 13.222 billion spent on labs and diagnostic services. The country’s exorbitant healthcare costs prevent many patients from receiving the care they require.