Pakistan launches COVID-19 TeleHealth portal

TeleHealth service to connect patients at home with doctors for free via WhatsApp

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a TeleHealth portal to offer a free consultation to patients through their mobile phones amid coronavirus pandemic.

Patients will be able to access both domestic and international doctors through WhatsApp on their smartphones while staying safe at their homes.

The portal has been put together with the help of various public and private entities. A chatbot, which can communicate in different languages, will ask screening questions before the caller can choose to talk to a doctor. A WhatsApp or voice call will be made to the inquirer. Doctors can sign up as volunteers for the portal quite easily through www.telehealth.gov.pk.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus emphasized the need for more doctors in Pakistan. She said that the launch of the portal would help the masses in reaching out to doctors without adding pressure to the already overburdened healthcare facilities.   

“There are less than 150,000 doctors for our 210 million population. The common people sometimes have to take a whole day out to travel from their village to a city to consult a doctor. When the Corona crisis happened, the Prime Minister advised us to use technology to address the problems. We wanted to reduce the burden and risk on our healthcare facilities and our doctors,” Airdus said.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza also appreciated the initiative and said that doctors that are currently at home or want to help from overseas would lower the burden faced by the doctors in the hospitals in Pakistan.

“Our doctors and healthcare professionals on the frontlines are doing and have already done so much. One outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the need to scale up digital health solutions. This Telehealth portal allows those doctors who are at home, or overseas Pakistani health professionals, to come to their support and lessen the burden,” Mirza said.

  • Pakistanis can use the service texting “Hi” on WhatsApp to +923001111166 

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