Islamabad, May 29, 2023 (PPI-OT): Karandaaz is a leading impact investor in Pakistan with the aim to promote access to finance for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) and financial inclusion of unbanked individuals. Karandaaz conducted a highly anticipated webinar to unveil the findings of its ground-breaking report titled "Private Healthcare in Pakistan - Gaps, Opportunities, and Possibilities." The report, comprising Volume 1 and 2, is now available to the public on Karandaaz's website.
The webinar commenced with welcome remarks from Mr Waqas ul Hasan, CEO, Karandaaz followed by opening remarks by Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson, Karandaaz Board. Ms Fatima Sheikh, Special Secretary (Health), Govt of Punjab delivered the keynote address, highlighting the initiatives being taken in the public sector for health delivery, significance of the report and its potential impact on the healthcare sector.
Ms Mehr Shah, Director of Research, Marketing, and Communications (RMC) at Karandaaz, along with Mr Imran Zia, Study Technical Lead at the Centre for Economic Research Pakistan (CERP), and Mr Behzad Taimur, Program Manager at CERP Analytics, presented the key findings from the report.
The report is one of the most extensive scoping of the private healthcare landscape in Pakistan, it offers comprehensive solutions and grounded recommendations for addressing various challenges that prevail in the private healthcare sector of Pakistan. It aims to inform academia, industry stakeholders, policymakers, and investors, providing a roadmap for collaboration and improvement in access, affordability, and quality of healthcare for the people of Pakistan.
Notably, the research highlights that healthcare expenditure has seen a modest increase of 18.6% between 2010 and 2020, reaching 2.95% as a percentage of GDP. Out-of-pocket expenditure accounts for more than 55% of total healthcare expenditure, indicating an urgent need for increased investment in the sector.
The study revealed the high cost of operating in the private healthcare sector, inhibiting the growth of small and medium-scale health enterprises. The estimated costs for setting up a modest tertiary facility are USD 20 million, while a 100-bed hospital requires a working capital of PKR 5-6 million per month. Limited access to capital and significant investment requirements pose challenges for these enterprises, restricting their expansion and market penetration.
Commenting on the findings, Mr Waqas ul Hasan, CEO of Karandaaz, said, “Despite the growth of private healthcare in Pakistan, there are still significant gaps in the healthcare system, which are rooted in structural flaws. For instance, while larger public-sector hospitals are the primary providers of critical hospital admissions and medical care for the underprivileged, routine consultations are sought by 70% of Pakistan’s population from private medical providers. Private healthcare provision mainly focuses on tertiary care hospitals, resulting in a neglect of primary and secondary healthcare. This unbalanced system has resulted in inadequate emphasis on primary and secondary healthcare, hindering their effective delivery.”
Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson Karandaaz Board, highlighted a core issue related to private healthcare supply: “Tech-enabled interventions in healthcare, such as digital healthcare platforms, have shown promise but remain limited in reach and scope. To bring transformative change and bridge the demand-supply gaps, it is crucial for the technology and IT sector to invest and engage in the healthcare industry. The absence of comprehensive industry-level standards and regulatory initiatives has not only undermined the quality of private healthcare in Pakistan but also missed opportunities for growth. By ensuring quality healthcare, Pakistan can tap into global consumer markets, retain skilled healthcare professionals, attract foreign direct investment, and increase the valuation of private healthcare facilities in the country.”
The first panel, focusing on "Bridging the Infrastructure Gap Through Innovations," featured industry experts including Mr Furquan Kidwai, CEO of Dawaai pk, Ms Aiman Khan, CEO of SLOSH AI Solutions, and Dr Sara Khurram, CEO of Sehat Kahani.
The second panel, titled "Unlocking Access to Quality Healthcare: Navigating the Landscape of Financing," comprised prominent figures such as Ms Mona Hassan, Principal Investment Officer International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mr. Aatif Awan, Managing Partner Indus Valley Capital, Mr Leandro Cuccioli, Director British International Investments (BII), Mr Kashif Mustafa, Managing Partner Lakson Investments, and Mr Malik Ahmad Jalal, Founder Cordoba Ventures.
During the closing remarks, Ms Anna Gibson, Team Lead - Private Sector Development at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), emphasized the importance of collaboration among public, private, and donor organizations in achieving universal healthcare coverage, saying, “What we have heard today is that there are solutions to some of these challenges. We can bring together private sector stakeholders to collectively advocate for better industry regulations and business reforms. We can also support the better integration of healthcare supply chains, including the local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies – which can reduce costs and spur wider job creation benefits.”
The launch of the report and the insightful discussions during the webinar mark a significant milestone in shaping the future of private healthcare in Pakistan. Karandaaz has active investments in the pharmaceutical industry and medical diagnostics. Healthcare is one of the core areas of Karandaaz’s investment strategy and the organization is committed to driving sustainable improvements in the sector through collaboration, investment and innovative solutions.
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