COMSATS virtually trains telehealth professionals


ISLAMABAD, JUNE 14 (DNA) – Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) joined hands with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C), Government of Pakistan, through training the country’s doctors and medical community for 5-day virtual training on Sexual, Reproductive and Maternal Health (SRH) for Telemedicine providers (Phase-Doctors).

The training successfully concluded in Islamabad in presence of  Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS; Dr. Palitha Mahipala, WHO Country Representative in Pakistan; and Dr. Malik Muhammad Safi, Director General Health at MoNHSR&C.  “Telemedicine is the need of the hour and COMSATS offers its technical support and experience for reinforcement of this healthcare tool in Pakistan”, said Dr. Zaidi. He considered doctors and healthcare providers as assets to nations and especially lauded them for bravely working on the frontlines during the ongoing current coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Palitha considered the present training significant in underscoring the various aspects of maternal health and childcare which is being compromised due to COVID19 pandemic. While appreciating the increasing role that technology has to play during the crisis, he regarded telemedicine the new normal for now and future. Dr. Safi opined that telemedicine could help address the gaps in the healthcare systems which are currently under stress due to coronavirus pandemic. He appreciated COMSATS for providing healthcare services to marginalized communities through digital means for almost two decades.

Dr. Sarah Zia, CEO of Sehat Kahani and Dr. Robina Shaheen, Program Manager Health at HDF also shared their positive feedback and experience about the training (through virtual means) at the concluding session

Held with due respect to the necessary health protocols regarding COVID-19 , the first phase of the  virtual trainings, imparted knowledge to doctors who provide Telehealth services of COMSATS, Sehat Kahani and Human Development Foundation (HDF).

Professionals that imparted and coordinated the training belonged to M/O NHSR&C, WHO, Health Services Academy, Dow Medical College and Civil Hospital in Karachi, and COMSATS, Islamabad.

The training upgraded the participants’ knowledge and skills on concepts, techniques in the SRH and a recap refresher of the older ones still in use. Specifically in these training sessions, the participants, inter alia,  pre-natal care with emphasis on new trends and concepts; routine care in labour, delivery and post-partum care as per guidelines provided by WHO; specifically highlighting emergency situations where patients may need referral and post-partum depression; effective stress management by SRH health care professionals especially amid the current COVID-19 crisis; telemedicine applications available in the country and their use in SRH interventions.

Building on its competitive advantage of having an ISP, COMSATS is the pioneer in the field of Telehealth in Pakistan. COMSATS Telehealth has since benefitted around 70,000 patients, in 17 rural areas across Pakistan, in specialties like Dermatology, Gynecology, Antenatal care, ultrasounds and outpatient care.

The outcomes of the training are expected to be further consolidated based on feedback of the beneficiaries and the trainers to make future interventions more effective.