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Winner Spotlight: HealthOne Offers Care for Low-Income, Diabetics in Pakistan

Where there’s a need, there’s opportunity for innovation—and that’s exactly what HealthOne is doing in Pakistan. According to Cofounder Fahad Hasan, many low-income and impoverished people in the country don’t have access to healthcare. To solve the problem Hasan created HealthOne to connect those individuals with the medical resources they needed.

The startup’s mission caught the attention of the judges at the Islamabad ChallengeX competition, and the company won the health category and a spot in this year’s Challenge Festival.

Before coming to compete in Washington, D.C. next month, Hasan told 1776 about his startup and the unique challenges and milestones the HealthOne team had as they developed and expanded their company.

What does HealthOne do?

HealthOne provides high-quality and affordable healthcare to the poor with a special focus on those suffering from diabetes. We have established clinics in low-income communities. Each of our clinics provides a holistic approach to healthcare (doctor, laboratory, pharmacy), while also engaging in an advocacy and outreach program for diabetics.

What led you to launch this startup? Was there a specific need you were trying to meet or problem you observed that didn’t have a solution?

Pakistan, like most emerging markets, suffers from a lack of basic healthcare–especially for those living under $2 a day. With a population of approximately 200 million people, that provides huge business opportunities.

We felt that by establishing neighborhood clinics with a holistic approach to quality service delivery, we could have maximum impact. Our focus on diabetes stems from the high prevalence rate (15 percent) and low focus given by the government on preventive care. Our retail healthcare model helps us identify diabetics, while our low-cost makes it affordable for the poor to get treatment.

Did you face any challenges developing your startup?

I am sure I am not alone in saying that I have faced, and continue to face, challenges in many aspects of business development. From company registration to political strikes shutting down business, HealthOne has seen some bizarre issues in its infancy.

The biggest challenge that comes to mind is human resources. It has been difficult to convince staff to stay committed to our innovative model; people are always resistant to change. Luckily, we seem to have passed that challenge! Startups are not for the faint-hearted.

Have you had any recent milestones/achievements as a company?

We have three major milestones/achievements that I am really proud of.

  • We have been able to engage Joslin Diabetes Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, as an advisor. They have helped us establish the world’s best diabetes protocols for our doctors to serve the low-income communities where we operate.
  • As part of our advocacy, we have completed over 4,000 free blood glucose tests. In the process, HealthOne has identified 600 diabetics who were not aware that they had the disease.
  • We set about a goal to promote gender equality. I am proud to say all of our doctors are women. This is especially important given that, due to cultural issues, many times women in low-income communities avoid going to the doctor because they only have access to male doctors.

What was it like to participate in ChallengeX?

ChallengeX was a an eye-opening experience. I was struck by the camaraderie that exists in the social entrepreneurial community. It is really heartening to know that there are other entrepreneurs, businesses and mentors that are committed to supporting positive ventures.

What are you looking forward to in the Challenge Festival?

I am extremely excited to meet all the future visionaries of the world and am eagerly looking forward to brainstorming sessions on how we can bring about positive changes!

Do you have any current goals for HealthOne?

We have three clear goals: expand, expand, expand! Each clinic serves low-income, high-density communities. HealthOne is determined to give more and more people quality, affordable diabetes management and primary care.

Chelsea Tyson

Chelsea Tyson recently graduated from Regent University and is working to pursue a degree in journalism. She previously interned at 1776 where she developed a passion for writing about the…