2019 Rolex Awards Associate Laureate
In the rugged hill country of Pakistan, doctors are scarce – and many families suffer from lack of medical care. But Pakistani doctor Sara Saeed believes she has the answer. At the same time, in the cities, thousands of well-qualified female doctors are staying home, unable to practice their vocation.
Weaving the two issues together with digital technology, Saeed has created a telemedicine delivery system that can potentially work in remote communities around the world.Aged 32, she is co-founder and CEO of Sehat Kahani, a service that connects home-based female doctors with people in rural and impoverished communities in a low-cost, service via an electronic health (e-Health) network.
“A lot of female doctors here do not work after getting their degree. Instead they become ‘doctor brides’ and stay home with their family. We're putting these female doctors back into the workforce within the cultural norms that exist in Pakistan and connecting them to patients in poor and rural communities, using digital technology.”
Her network of 23 e-health clinics across Pakistan serves 86,000 patients. It employs 1,500 female doctors and more than 90 nurses and field health workers. Recently it has included Pakistani female doctors living overseas, making its services available round the clock. Saeed plans to expand her network to 100 e-clinics, delivering affordable healthcare to up to 10 million people by 2023. The result is a model that not only saves lives and delivers affordable care – but also empowers skilled women to reach their full potential.