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Roshan: Telemedicine Healthcare System

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Company: Roshan, Kabul, Afghanistan
Entry Submitted By: Hill+Knowlton Stategies
Company Description: Roshan (Telecom Development Company Afghanistan Ltd) is Afghanistan's leading total communications provider with over 6.5 million active subscribers and a network that covers over 287 districts and cities in all of the country's 34 provinces.
Nomination Category: Communications & Marketing Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Public Service

Nomination Title: Roshan: Telemedicine Healthcare System

In up to 525 words, tell the judges about the nominated campaign: its genesis, development, planning, commission, and performance to date:

Upon her arrival in Afghanistan in 2003, Shainoor Khoja was tasked with an extra-ordinate challenge: creating a CSR program in war-ravaged Afghanistan for a newly-formed telecommunications company, Roshan. At that time, less than 1% of Afghans had access to a telephone; decades of conflict left infrastructure decimated, and infant mortality rates were the highest in the world. The possibility that a CSR program could tend to the country’s insurmountable needs seemed dim. But Shainoor envisioned the impact the mobile network could have in solving some of its most pressing challenges—including healthcare access.

Many areas had no modern health service and were geographically difficult to reach. A major lack of medical personnel and specialists proved a critical threat to the country’s future. Harnessing the power of Roshan’s 3G mobile network, Shainoor believed an innovative telemedicine system, where healthcare professionals remotely diagnose and treat patients via broadband, would alleviate Afghanistan’s healthcare crisis by bringing access to the most isolated areas. To her surprise, she was met with fierce opposition; telemedicine was deemed too futuristic and other organizations wanted to focus on more immediate needs like medical equipment delivery. But Shainoor, together with Roshan leadership, persevered, understanding how transformative technology could be at a larger scale and quicker rate. Shainoor helped secure more than $1.8M of funding for Roshan and in 2007, launched Telemedicine.

For the first time, Afghanistan’s most at-risk populations had access to doctors from leading research hospitals worldwide. Diagnoses are made in real-time with 40 radiology exams conducted remotely every month. In the past year, more than 2,355 patients have received tele-consultations through Roshan’s program, surpassing an all-time total of 14,000 patients since launch. Telemedicine is now a pivotal element of Afghanistan’s healthcare system, training more than 4,000 Afghan doctors and nurses through an e-health curriculum and providing the framework for the country’s first open heart surgery. With major support from the international community during the last 14 years and since Telemedicine launched, Afghanistan’s infant mortality rate has decreased by 62% and adult life expectancy has risen by 22 years. To Shainoor, it’s most rewarding to see technology saving lives and an entire country adopt and embrace a new way of healthcare.

Today Roshan is the leading telecom in Afghanistan, providing access to 6.5 million customers in 287 districts and cities. Largely due to Shainoor’s leadership, “Roshan Community,” the company’s CSR arm she developed, has invested more than $600 million in Afghanistan telecommunications infrastructure. Beyond Telemedicine, Roshan constructs safe playgrounds, solar-powered e-learning centers, wells, and schools. It serves more than 1.5 million meals to street-working children—all to transform the well-being of entire communities.

Shainoor’s work at Roshan has been pioneering. For the first time, a company successfully created a socially-responsible business model in an emerging market, bridging commercial success with social contribution and truly serving as a catalyst for economic growth. Roshan’s story is one Shainoor feels the world must hear. She now takes her experience and knowledge around the world, working with companies of all types to launch mission-driven businesses in emerging markets. Shainoor is committed to developing innovative solutions that truly make life better for those who need it most.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the team that created and carried out the nominated communications campaign (up to 125 words):

At Roshan, Shainoor established an award-winning CSR program encompassing activities in commerce, health, social welfare and education, specifically focused on social enterprise and leveraging technology to address Afghanistan’s needs. Examples include:

- Telemedicine link to address shortcomings in Afghanistan's healthcare system
- M-Paisa mobile money solutions
- Facilitating sustainable and profitable businesses for women

Shainoor founded Better Business Enterprise Ltd. to help start-ups identify innovative opportunities in emerging markets that drive socio-economic growth. She is an appointed Governor of the International Development Research Center Canada, Executive-in-Residence at Babson College, Change Agent in Residence at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and Trustee for Global Council for Compassion. Shainoor studied in England and Canada earning degrees in physiotherapy and health management, and a postgraduate certificate from Cambridge University.