|Khairpur Telemedicine camp- by Abrar ul Hassan|
For Pakistan, I can see a possibility in providing flood-affected people living in far-flung areas the best specialist doctors advice, and treatment, on a long-term basis!
Because of the widespread communication infrastructure damage, on going security situation and other logistical issues, bringing in the doctors remotely seems to be the only way to realize this objective.
Telemedicine is a tested technology. In addition to that, a week ago two specialist doctors did a clinic from Karachi for 106 flood-affected men, women and children in Khairpur, a town about eight hours drive towards the north of the city. My initial asking around generated a significant interest from the doctors around the world.
All we need to do is to create an online portal where volunteer doctors – from all over the world – can register and leave information regarding their professional credentials, language skills and number of hours they intend to work. In addition to that, basic admin staff to manage the portal.
Upon having enough doctors on the portal, to do eight hours a day and four days a week clinic, for a month. Four clinics, in the poorest and the most difficult to reach flood affected areas, with broadband Internet connection and computers, could be open with the help of local NGOs and district management.
International donor agencies and big pharmaceutical companies would be more than happy to provide essential medicines for these four camps.
The national and international media coverage of the success of the initial four “Telemedicine camps” would not only help sustain the project but would also help in the creation of similar camps around the country, who can simply log-in to the “doctors’ portal” to avail the service. Only a fraction of the percentage of the specialist doctors of the world can run hundreds of similar camps, even if they only work 2 hours a week! The possibilities are limitless. What do you say?