Home to nearly two billion people in just eight countries, South Asia is full of culture, diversity, political variety and economic powerhouses. Despite the booming economy of some of South Asia’s members, healthcare has always remained a lesser priority for those in the corridors of power.

The World Bank estimated that more than 390 million people in South Asia are living below the lines of poverty and are unable to access quality healthcare. This puts further burden on already economically pressurized governments to increase spending, while compromising on the quality of public healthcare.

For 1000 people in South Asia, there is only 1 medical practitioner to attend to their needs. While the despair is widespread, some innovative minds have collaborated to bring about change and positively impact the healthcare system in these countries.

From Afghanistan, all the way to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, South Asian healthcare startups are turning a new chapter in history. While they are few, their outreach is far and wide. In the coming years, there’s no telling what the healthcare scene in South Asia will look like if these startups continue to do the work they intend to.

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Top Healthcare Startup in India – practo

Top Healthcare Startup South Asia
Courtesy: Practo

In a country with over a billion people living in some of the world’s worst conditions due to poverty, getting connected with quality healthcare is a blessing. This is where Practo comes into the scene.

Focused purely on connecting patients all around India with quality healthcare, Practo is an independent wesite with over 100,000 doctor profiles from across the country. Appointments with doctors, booking diagnostic tests, obtaining medicines and maintaining a health database is all practical right at the comfort of a patient’s own home.

Practo also facilitates online consultation, delivery of genuine medicines and securely maintaining your health profile, all online.

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Top Healthcare Startup in Pakistan – MyZingadi

Top Healthcare Startup South Asia
Courtesy: MyZindagi

Over 60 percent of Pakistan’s 200 million-plus people still live in rural areas, which means minimal access to quality healthcare facilities and doctors. Travelling to bigger cities has been the norm for patients living in villages and towns to seek medical advice and treatment. Most patients are forced avoid the long and expensive journey, sharply decreasing their quality and span of life.

MyZindagi is a ray of hope in a country where most of society depends on an agricultural backed income to survive. A recent boom of 3G and 4G internet services in Pakistan has allowed connectivity to increase by manifolds. Global System Mobile Association (GSMA) has estimated that 90% of the Pakistani population will have access to 3G networks by the year 2020 and some experts even suggest that Pakistan maybe the first country to test out 5G services.

Access to a doctor in Pakistan is now simple as downloading an app on your smartphone. MyZindagi, with a database of over 15,000 doctors in more than 40 cities and 2,500 hospitals, has already gathered 50,000+ active users in a matter of months. The MyZindagi app allows anyone to discuss their matter with a medical practitioner, face-to-face on their smartphones no matter where they are.

It also connects patients to doctors and medical facilities that are closest to them, while getting a necessary prescription right then and there as well.

This could revolutionize how healthcare in Pakistan works, since 80 percent of all current outpatient visits are being handled by the private sector and the country is the third highest in the world for infant mortality. The technology being used by myZindagi is being noticed by the government and the venture recently received Best Startup Award from the PITB, a government established body for technology innovation.

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Top Healthcare Startup in Afghanistan – AlemHealth

Top Healthcare Startup South Asia
Courtesy: AlemHealth

Afghanistan has been the target of severe poverty, economic and political crises and a global war on terrorism for over a decade now. Suffering the most is the country’s own population, which has an average annual national income per capita of just USD 410 and a life expectancy of only 48 years.

The country is a battleground and few dare to enter its borders. Startups are nearly non-existent, just like Afghanistan’s own healthcare system. Despite the challenges, millions of dollars are spent by Afghanis in travelling abroad to seek quality medical attention and treatment. AlemHealth is hoping to change that.

Started by Aschkan Abdul-Malek, a graduate of law and business from Vanderbil University, AlemHealth connects local patients with doctors abroad. This Afghan-based startup provides digital health solutions designed and optimized to address global doctor shortages by allowing them to work across borders, completely virtually. Most significant of all, prices are affordable and within reach of the Afghani people who benefit the most from such an initiative.

Now Afghani patients no longer must spend their life savings on travelling to get an accurate diagnosis or treatment. Working with some of the best hospitals and doctors around the world, reports and tests are shared digitally and are addressed within minutes.

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Top Healthcare Startup in Bangladesh – CMED

Top Healthcare Startup South Asia
Courtesy: CMED

When it comes to diagnosing and managing a preventable disease, the East and West are world’s apart. The situation in Bangladesh has been quite problematic for people suffering from diabetes and blood pressure. A lack of awareness and options to control these issues results in a serious deterioration in quality of life.

There are not many creative solutions to tackle such large scale problems, but CMED seems to stand out. In Bangladesh, the routine checkup is non-existent. Health issues are usually diagnosed when a major problem arises and forces people into the emergency room. CMED is working towards improving the quality of life people with non-communicable diseases like diabetes have through regular monitoring and analysis through their cloud-based system. This system is connected with smart medical devises through mobile app and allows regular health tracking of the patient.

As of now, it is possible for CMED devices to continuously monitor blood pressure, pulse, blood glucose, blood oxygen saturation, temperature, weight, height and BMI of an individual. Upon analysis and level of health, the system can connect the patient to a doctor for immediate medical assistance and guidance.

CMED was founded by Dr. Khondaker A. Mamun and has been nominated as a top five startup of the GP Accelerator program.

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The good news is that there are several startups working in important sectors such as healthcare in regions where there is a great need for innovation. It is crucial that governments, the private sector and investors come together to further support these initiatives and allow them to make an impact. With innovation in healthcare, millions of lives will improve, while economies will strengthen with the creation of countless jobs. The only condition being an enabling environment which promotes creativity and opportunity.

What do you think about the startups in the healthcare sector in your country? Let us know in the comments section below or on the official TechBizWeb Facebook page!