ISLAMABAD -  Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Docthers have reached an agreement for providing healthcare to the BISP beneficiaries at concessional rates.

In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Thursday between BISP and Docthers. The MoU was signed by BISP Director General Dost Ali Shah and Docthers Co-Founder and COO Dr Sara Khurram in the presence of BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon, Docthers Co-Founder & CDO Dr Iffat Zafar and BISP officials.

The purpose of MoU is to provide BISP beneficiaries with quality healthcare with minimum expense. Docthers is an organisation which connects home based qualified female physicians to underprivileged populations via nurse-assisted video consultations in 9 Tele-Medicine Centers across the country. Five Tele-Medicine Centers are located in Karachi, while three are in Hafizabad, Mansehra and Dhadhar respectively. Under this MoU, Docthers will provide healthcare to BISP beneficiaries at concessional rates in all of its centers.

During the MoU signing ceremony, it was informed that according to Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Statistics-2015, every year approximately 14,000 women graduate from medical schools but only 50 percent are doing practice. Out of the 70,000 licensed female physicians, barely 9,000 are practicing doctors. As per Pakistan Health & Demographic Survey 2012-13, 120 million Pakistanis fall below poverty line out of which 90 percent have little or no access to quality healthcare.

On the occasion, the BISP chairperson appealed all of 61,000 non-practicing female doctors to come forward and assume an active role towards improving health conditions in the country.

She said that they can benefit from the platform of Docthers and contribute towards the welfare of society from their homes. She added that their contribution will also help BISP beneficiaries as 5.3 million beneficiaries across the country need quality healthcare.

She also appealed the philanthropists to support Docthers for setting up more Tele-Medicine Centers. She said, “We wish to see at least one Tele-Medicine Center in each district of the country so that all BISP beneficiaries, on equal basis, get advantage of the cheap and quality healthcare at concessional rates.”

It was also discussed during the meeting that in the pilot phase of the cooperation between BISP and Docthers, three more Tele-Medicine Centers will be established in Quetta, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad in order to maximise the number of BISP beneficiaries benefitting from this initiative. Based on the success of the pilot phase, the cooperation will be extended to the other parts of the country.

Dr Sara informed that services of Docthers include online consultations with general physicians, lab collection, free basic dispensary items, mini dispensary on discounted rates, medical camps and other value added services.

 Diseases dealt by Docthers include hypertension, diabetes, dermatology, mental health, anemia, gastro intestinal diseases, ENT infections, OBS/gyne, malnutrition in children and pediatric services.