Digital Healthcare Solutions (DH), and Shakti Foundation have recently teamed up to provide innovative healthcare solutions to Shakti borrowers and members of the surrounding community.
DH is the provider of over 1,000,000 online medical consultations in Bangladesh, and Shakti Foundation works for the financial inclusion and empowerment of almost half a million women through micro and SME financing, health and other services, according to a press statement.
DH and Shakti have installed new technology at 11 Shakti Medical Care Centers (SMCC), to upgrade them to Digital Women's Health Centres – with the intention of further evolving the services with new, medical support for the other 70+ clinics, it read.
Shakti borrowers and their families can now access free, unlimited, MBBS doctor consultations via phone, chat or video call and specialist doctors including in: gynecology, pediatrics, skin, and medicine.
All consultations are provided via video. Previous test reports and prescriptions can be shared and new prescriptions, as well as onward care referrals to local hospitals, are provided digitally and printed locally, according to the statement.
At certain centres, rare or expensive medicines, and diagnostics, can be ordered digitally for later delivery to the centre.
"Local Shakti community health workers and microfinance staff from the 11 communities are at the heart of the project, helping to identify borrowers with maternal or child health needs, and refer them to the Digital Centers," it added.
"In the first three days of piloting the service, over 100 women accessed appointments with specialists – including 30 with gynecologists, 20 with pediatricians," it read.
"Shakti and DH have launched free digital doctor support for all Shakti members, who can now avail unlimited calls to doctors at 08 000 111 000 (toll-free), chat and video call via the Digital Hospital app," it continued.
"Furthermore, up to 5,000 Shakti members are also trialing a new health plan from DH, combining unlimited access to doctors with Tk20,000 free health cashback coverage on hospital costs, through DH's Amra Shurokkhito package," read the statement.
Andrew Smith, CCO of Digital Healthcare Solutions says, "The 11 Digital Women's Health Centres have huge potential, to bring top-quality specialist advice to the heart of village or community via video."
He continued, "Over time, we can close the loop for all patients, with the Digital Women's Health Centers being a point for: screening, early detection, diagnostics, and safe, reliable medicine – and empower those villages with health centers as economic hubs. A new offline-online model for Bangladesh, and great new health services for tens of thousands of women and families."
Imran Ahmed, deputy executive director of Shakti Foundation, said, "Shakti has always been a pioneer in using technology and digitalisation of operations to bring maximum value to its disadvantaged clientele, more-so in the present scenario where virtual services have become a necessity in every sphere of life."
Their partnership with Digital Health to bring quality health services and online consultation with specialists to marginalised women and their families, even in remote areas, was another example of Shakti leveraging technology to disrupt the status-quo and reiterating its commitment to ensure good health and overall empowerment of women, he added, following the statement.