The COVID 19 crisis has directed government health resources towards treating patients afflicted with the deadly virus. While this addresses a pressing need, it cannot come at the cost of neglecting the responsibility to continuously providing health services to those who may be at risk from other prevalent diseases. These include the communicable spectrum such as malaria, typhoid, seasonal ailments and various infections, alongside non-communicable conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that often require day-to-day management. In these times, SINA has continued providing services to its communities by implementing a telemedicine health system at its clinics.
Through the telemedicine model, a trained clinical technician present at the clinic provides on-ground coordination to facilitate patient consults through video conferencing. SINA’s pharmacy then dispenses the digitally prescribed medications. During these critical times, SINA has complied with and taken all necessary measures of providing PPE to its staff, implementing disinfecting measures and sanitization for staff and patients while maintaining physical distancing.
SINA has historically run its primary healthcare services with a state-of-the-art cloud based electronic medical records system based on international protocols, through which medical records of the patients can be accessed. This digital architecture enabled SINA’s rapid transitions from daily OPD to telemedical health services in an effort to continue their mission to offer patients support in this time of need. This has helped fulfil the core purpose of strong primary care facilities, which in essence is to reduce the patient burden on tertiary and quaternary care hospital which are significantly overburdened. With the shutdown of various OPDs in the city, SINA’s role in telemedicine allows larger hospitals to focus on COVID patient and other patients needing a greater level of care.
This ties in with the ethos ingrained within SINA – from the on-ground staff to the board of trustees. ‘SINA’s mission is best served in continuing to look after our patients through timely delivery of consultations services. This reduces the burden of health issues in communities which are already overburdened by the loss of daily wages.’ says Dr. Asif Imam, SINA’s Chairman and Founder. ‘Our doctors are trained to record information through their tablet computers, which enable us to ensure an approach which is quality assured – our donors and patients all expect this from us.’
In this time of need, there are many examples of synergism across societal, governmental and individual sectors, all in an effort to come together to support each other. SINA, a not-for-profit organization which has been working to provide primary health care facilities in unprivileged communities of Karachi since 1998, has simply changed its mode of delivery, whilst minimizing any disruption in patient care.