Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) Novartis Pharmaceutical, in collaboration with Pakistan Digital Health Initiative (PDHI) and National Incubation Center (NIC), organized Pakistan Digital Health Day here in Karachi at NIC. The event was organized in an effort to leverage digital initiatives that can extend people’s lives and change the healthcare ecosystem of Pakistan.
The event comprised of talks by featured speakers and panel discussions with personalities belonging to pharmaceutical, healthcare and digital backgrounds. The highlight of the event was presentations by health based tech startups who were featured at the event and got an opportunity to share their business vision. Number of country’s top startups were identified who are partnering and adding value towards future of Pakistan’s digital health patient and out-patient care segments.
In his welcome note, Sufyan Usmani, Head of Commercial & Communication, Novartis, shared the objectives of the digital initiatives and the collaboration with health based tech startups and companies. He also highlighted the contribution of Novartis as one of the top healthcare organizations in Pakistan.
Dr. Imran Rasheed, CEO, Novartis, while sharing his views said, “Digitalization is the future of Novartis and in that journey we believe that we cannot do everything alone. That is why we believe that we need to work with the right minded people, vendors and especially the new breed of startups that can help us not only to achieve our vision by taking bold steps and partnerships, but also make the environment we work in a better place to live in. Novartis being a digitally forward company promotes such initiatives as it’s completely in line with our global commitment of providing advanced patient care.”
While sharing his views on digital health ecosystem in Pakistan, Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed CEO, Digital Care, Program Director – Digital Health, King Saud University said, “Studies have shown that around the world healthcare technology will exceed the market size of $600 billion by 2021. Global healthcare systems are embracing new technologies and undergoing massive transformation, however, Pakistan has yet to catch up. Digital technology enables access of healthcare easier in developing economies such as Pakistan, where a major chunk of population resides in far-flung areas. Therefore, it is essential that we make the most of digital healthcare technologies to address key medical needs of the populace.”
Dr. Kamran Iqbal, Head of Initiatives, PDHI, said, “We are pleased to launch Pakistan Digital Health Initiative (PDHI) today as we strongly believe that academia, industry and government coalition for digital health innovation and enterprise is extremely important. We should all come together to formulate and practice collective action approach where all the stakeholders are playing their part in enhancing healthcare ecosystem through digital means. He further added, “PDHI being a completely independent entity acts as a convening platform to will bring government, private sector and academia to form policies and solutions for digital health.”
Shahjahan Chaudhary, Director, NIC, while talking about digital healthcare innovation at NIC, said, “Entrepreneurship has always been the core of NIC, and bringing healthcare in this area is a step ahead. We are committed to improving the healthcare and technological content of life in Pakistan. It is only when we have synchronized our efforts, will we be able to combat the rising health crisis in the country.
These startups are playing a major role in this regard, and NIC being a framework which brings them all together, is fully committed and onboard to promote this digital health initiative.”
Dr. Asad Mian, Director, Critical Creative Innovative Thinking (CCIT) at the Aga Khan University was also present at the occasion and shared his views from academia’s perspective on how innovation is working towards enhancing provision of digital healthcare and improve patient care.“Given the high degree of morbidity and mortality because of the immense disease burden of Pakistan, we should consider disruption and its inherent innovation potential as our ally to have lasting impact on health outcomes.”
Members from the public policy, government officials, corporate sector, health and academia attended the eventto discuss challenges being faced by Pakistan in healthcare sector and how technology can be utilized to overcome those challenges.