KARACHI: The CEO of a Saudi-Pakistani online education platform told Arab News that with funding from the Islamic Development Bank, they would soon begin training more than 1,500 Afghan doctors.


Pakistani professionals in Karachi and Saudi Arabian expats run the EduCast platform together. Having launched in 2016, it has since expanded to serve customers in Pakistan and Yemen as well as Hajj visitors to Saudi Arabia.
The IsDB has recently approved $180,000 as part of its technical assistance grant for the eDoctors program to establish cutting-edge online health education centers in Afghanistan, where the health system is on the verge of collapse due to chronic understaffing, outdated infrastructure, and a lack of funding.

On Thursday, Abdullah Butt, founder and CEO of EduCast, told Arab News that the company had received funding from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to implement the Afghanistan Medical Education uplift program and offer online specialist opinion services to doctors in six provinces across Afghanistan.

Since last year, doctors at Kabul’s Shefajo Hospital for Women and Children have been available for teleconsultations via EduCast.

Through in-person training at health institutions in neighboring Pakistan, as well as doctor-to-doctor online consultation and virtual seminars, the new program aims to train and certify 1,500 Afghan doctors.

Butt announced that beginning this month, telehealth education and clinical support facilities would be installed in six regional hospitals across Afghanistan, including those in Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-e Sharif, and Khost.

After completing the online course, students will spend one to two months receiving hands-on instruction at hospitals in Peshawar, Karachi, and Islamabad in “key health-related areas of high demand,” such as maternal and neonatal child health, as well as infectious and non-communicable diseases.

Since the Taliban took control of the country in 2021, most international aid organizations have pulled out of Afghanistan, leaving behind a healthcare system that has been severely hampered by a lack of continuous medical education training for its practitioners.

Butt explained that since “medical universities in Afghanistan do not offer CME-related programs,” establishing telemedicine and e-health as national platforms was proposed as a way to boost the quality of health care provided to the population.

According to the IsDB, “after the withdrawal of international donor agencies from Afghanistan, the provision of health care services was identified as a solution to the adverse impacts of economic and political instability.”

About 1,200 doctors from different parts of the world have signed up for the eDoctors program since it began in 2019.
Over 4.4 million people have used EduCast’s online health care and therapy services since the company’s inception.