Islamabad-In times of decline in our mental or physical health, we all seek good medical care. Determining what kind of doctor you need or would be the best becomes a tiring and lengthy process and so you think of relying on your friend’s or relative’s suggestions and guidance. Their advice, however, is based on their limited knowledge, which sometimes helps but mostly doesn’t. There are also quacks and frauds sitting in the market. This makes the search very difficult and we are at the mercy of friends’ or relatives’ opinions.

Aware of these limitations and concerns ‘Marham,’ a virtual platform for people, has been created. It connects doctors and patients directly leaving no room for doubts. Marham (www.marham.pk), literally, brings the best doctors of our city on our finger tips.

One is overwhelmed to see people working on this mission so dedicatedly and that too regardless of the monetary gains. From the founders to the visual designers everyone works for free on the platform of Marham.

The idea was conceived when Ehsan Imam, the co-founder, had to seek an appointment with a physician for his father but he was constraint to do so due to paucity of time in view of his heavy official engagements.

Adverting to his career and successes in the past, he realised that he has sacrificed the needs of his family in establishing and finding his own identity and recognition.

This whole thing leads to the extreme point where he left his job and thought of doing something for his own family and to set an example in terms of source of convenience for other in similar situations. In his quest for the solution, he found a number of people with the similar mindset, willing to create a platform that could revolutionise the healthcare industry in Pakistan.

Untiring efforts on the ends of design and data collection, the final result was the Marham App, available for the web, IOs and Android. Via this application, users can: locate nearby doctors relevant to a specific disease or specialty; discuss confusions and health-related issues with the Marham community on Facebook; share the information of doctors with friends or family through SMS, Whatsapp or social networks; help refine the database by requesting to add new data or reporting if any doctor’s information is incorrect. Marham is a platform for both the doctors and the common people to exchange views.

Ehsan Imam, the co-founder of Marham, says: “The struggle of data collection was real, people were afraid that we might be from the tax department and we’d take their information for some reporting. Convincing them was a bigger challenge but we somehow managed to do it.”

The journey wasn’t too smooth. Another obstacle in their path was receiving incomplete details of doctors from the hospitals that lengthened the verification process, which was only made possible by the team’s earnest efforts. “Currently, we are working on a lot more much-needed features which involve hospital services, labs for testing, rate comparison, symptom checker, blood donation and more; we need all the support we can get,” Imam said.

Marham is empowering people by enabling them to make informed health decisions. It is a community-based initiative and your experiences, whether good or bad, can help someone in pain. We use technology to make your experiences add to the collective memory of the Marham community and enable you to save lives. Online users can download the application and help digitally revolutionise healthcare in Pakistan.

—The writer is a freelance contributor.