In emerging nations such as Pakistan, the good news is that 60% of medical school graduates are women. The bad news is that 3 out every 4 of these graduates are not participating in the workforce - largely due to sociocultural barriers that prevent them from achieving their professional aspirations with their family responsibilities.
The exclusion of women in the workforce in many emerging markets in the MENASA region has been further exacerbated by digital exclusion, resulting in a massive loss of human potential, human agency and even loss of human life - especially in countries such as Pakistan where tens of millions of women continue to be digitally excluded while simultaneously lacking access to quality, affordable healthcare. In such digitally divided environments, trusted intermediaries such as 4G smart phone/tablet-equipped nurses, midwives and frontline health workers can use digital technology - not only to reintegrate women (healthcare providers or 'HCPs') into the (health) workforce (via HD video-consultation/telemedicine) but also to connect these HCPs to female end-users in remote rural areas who otherwise would be digitally excluded.
At doctHERs we firmly believe that the re-integration of women into the workforce (output) through digital inclusion (an input) will yield increased economic empowerment for women (outcome) which will ultimately lead to increased returns for both society and participating corporate/business partners (Impact).
Female frontline health workers (community health promoters, nurses and midwives) are recruited, digitally trained and equipped with technology - hardware, software and 4G wifi connectivity. They are then deployed in underserved communities, corporate offices, factories, retail clinics and ambulances where they are able to connect 'digitally excluded' , underserved health consumers (especially women who otherwise have highly restricted access to women's health) to remotely located female doctors (via telemedicine).
doctHERs is currently partnering with Unilever & Telenor to digitally reintegrate 3 million 'digitally excluded' lives across all 36 districts of Punjab (Pakistan) via 1600 4G, tech-enabled, female frontline health workers (FFHWs, also known as lady health workers). These FFHWs go door-to-door in villages and offer 4G internet connectivity to village residents for HD video-consultation with doctors. These FFFWs are also using digital financial services (mobile money) to digitally reintegrate financially excluded villagers.
Some of the target outcomes (key performance indicators or KPIs) we are tracking include:
The impact of our solution is as follows:
(i) Number of women who are digitally reintegrated into the workforce as a result of doctHERs' tech-enabled model
(ii) Number of female frontline health workers who are digitally trained to link remote communities to urban-centered healthcare providers (HCPs)
(iii) % change in monthly income of digitally included women (frontline health workers)
% change in maternal, neonatal and under-5 child mortality & morbidity (M&M) of female beneficiaries
Mean (average) number of digital interactions by female end-users (digital inclusion)
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