InstaCare, free online medical consultations during COVID-19 in Pakistan

Monday, April 27, 2020
InstaCare Corona Response Unit

With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Pakistan, the Government officials lockdowned the country to control the spread of the virus. These closures have also included out patient departments of all hospitals and private clinics, which led to many citizens experiencing uncertainty and panic about their health. 

To help mitigate some of these issues, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) partnered with InstaCare, an enterprise that has received business development support services through USAID’s Small and Medium Enterprise Activity (SMEA), and launched the InstaCare Corona Response Unit (ICRU) to provide free online medical consultations. 

InstaCare is a Lahore-based, E-commerce marketplace for healthcare and fitness service providers. It provides a listing of more than 16,000 medical professionals in more than 10 cities along with home sampling service for various lab tests. They currently have over 200 clinics, doctors, laboratories, pharmacies, and over 100,000 registered users who can avail their services using the online portal and the mobile application. 

“Mobility throughout the country has been more and more difficult for Pakistanis in need of health care services,” said USAID Mission Director Julie Koenen.  “Through this private sector partnership, Pakistani citizens can connect with a healthcare professional to address the issues they or their families are confronting.” 

“With the support of USAID, we were able to create digital awareness about telemedicine services across Pakistan which helped thousands of patients and doctors during this hard time,” said Muhammad Bilal Amjad, CEO of InstaCare.  “I can see the impact and the value of this support during and after the pandemic is massive.”

Initially, 12 team members at InstaCare volunteered to ensure that healthcare services remained accessible despite the lockdowns, and within 10 days of the launch of the ICRU free services, the response from citizens was overwhelming. InstaCare had to call in more volunteer doctors and medical students to provide free online medical consultations. Today, there are more than 300 doctors providing medical consultations through ICRU. 

InstaCare has also partened with several government and private institutions to enable them to provide telemedicine services to the general public. One key such collabpration is with the Khyber Medical University and the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to launch telemedicine in KPK. As a result of this partnership, Khyber Medical University, which is a leading medical institute in Peshawar, established a telemedicine center with 50+ doctors to offer free online medicial consultations in KP. The Governer of KP has also promoted this initiaitve on his Twitter handle. 

“I suspected that I had coronavirus due to all the negativity on the social media and was mentally very disturbed,” said a patient in Lahore named Mr. Asad. “That's when InstaCare helped me. I booked an online consultation and the InstaCare team was very responsive and were very quick to respond to all my queries. The doctor was also very cooperative and I didn't feel like there was a difference between an online and face to face consultation for even a second.”

With more than $8 million in new contributions, the United States is collaborating with the Government of Pakistan to help stop the spread of coronavirus nationwide and care for afflicted people.  All of these contributions were identified as top priority needs by Pakistani authorities, and they are fully paid by the American people. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $18.4 billion in Pakistan, including $1.1 billion in health assistance.

Last updated: May 11, 2020

Share This Page