A Pakistani startup, doctHERs, has secured first place in the World Health Summit Startup Track 2017.
The digital healthcare platform connects female doctors to patients in real-time using online technology. Its mission is to transcend socio-cultural barriers which restrict female healthcare professionals. It also aims to correct two market failures: access to quality healthcare for underprivileged communities and inclusive employment for women.
Dr Asher Hasan, one of the co-founders of doctHERs, was awarded the first prize by German health minister Hermann Gröhe, the patron of the international competition, on October 16. As many as 600 guests attended the event.
“We need good ideas to improve global healthcare,” Gröhe said in his address. He said the competition by the World Health Summit was an important opportunity to network and make new contacts.
For the doctHERs team, receiving the first prize was a big moment. “It’s like we won an Oscar. The attention we will get through it will help women around the world,” Hasan said..
As many as 70 startups from 25 countries had applied and 10 finalists from six countries had presented their ideas at the World Health Summit. Other finalists included startups from Germany, India, Switzerland, USA and Indonesia.
A statement issued at the end of the conference said the docHERs pitch was the most convincing.
“The startup not only has a decisive influence on the healthcare system but also leads us in a new direction for social change. The idea has the potential to sustainably improve the lives of many people around the world,” it said.
DoctHERs will receive comprehensive business coaching from Berlin-based incubator Flying Health as well as exclusive contacts with potential mentors and sponsors from the World Health Summit network. The startup will also be invited to Berlin for the 10th World Health Summit in 2018.
The central themes of the World Health Summit 2017 were the health policy of the G7/G20, the development of new vaccines, digitization and big data, health security, urban health, Africa and the United Nations’ sustainability goals.
The World Health Summit, held in Germany between October 15 and 17, is under the patronage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of France Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. It is the most important strategic forum for global healthcare and has been held annually in Berlin since 2009.