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Latest News / Let's Go Trade Case Study: doctHERs


Dr. Sara Saeed and Dr Iffat Zafar

doctHERs, Pakistan (Karachi and KPK)

Visited: US, including New York and Washington DC

Dates: Feb 2016

Grant: US $3,000

DoctHERs is an innovative healthcare business that uses online technology to enable female doctors to deliver a range of medical services to female patients in marginalised communities in Pakistan. In addition to addressing the problems that disadvantaged women from low income communities face in accessing healthcare, the company also enables female healthcare professionals, both home-based doctors and community based nurses, to become re-integrated within the health sector workforce. Doctors provide consultations from their homes over the internet to patients in seven ‘teleclinics’ staffed by a nurse who coordinates with the doctor to treat the patient. The doctor also has access to doctHERs’ diagnostic tools and can monitor her patients’ vital signs virtually.

Dr Iffat Zafar, co-founder of doctHERs, used her Shell LiveWIRE Let’s Go Trade (LGT) grant to fund her trip to speak about her company at the 54th Session of the Commission for Social Development at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This provided Iffat with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of doctHERs and present opportunities to scale-up the provision of virtual healthcare in Pakistan to key international stakeholders.

Her LGT visit enabled Iffat to meet with potential investors, especially with regard to raising funds to support the development of new online platforms to scale-up healthcare delivery programmes. She also met the Pakistan UN Ambassedor Maliha Lodhi, who is a big supporter of healthcare causes in Pakistan as well as start-up companies, and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and senior USAID officials.

During her visit, Iffat looked into the various mobile healthcare apps successfully operating in the US, and began to explore the opportunity of developing similar apps to deliver the doctHERs services to a larger population of smartphone users across Pakistan.

Commenting on how apps could help to increase the reach of doctHERs in the domestic market, Iffat said, “The visit enabled us to come up with a ‘direct to consumer’ business model which will expand our services to the middle and upper income brackets who use smartphones, and we are in the process of developing the software for this.”

Explaining how her Let’s Go Trade visit has helped in the development of her business, Iffat said, “We secured a USAID grant to open up six more clinics, and are looking at a couple of other partnership deals to open up 36 clinics this year, going up to 500 by 2018.

“We are expanding doctHERs into the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtun Khwa provinces, and are looking to develop new mental wellbeing services for corporate clients.

“By 2020 we expect to have 2,000 clinics across Pakistan and to offer subscription based healthcare to the wider population via smartphones.”



Let's Go Trade Case Study: doctHERs
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