Impact of COVID-19 on the digitization of Pakistan

Impact of Covid-19 on Pakistan

When the pandemic hit, the world witnessed the bizarre nature of people. The uncertain and wavering lifestyles uplifted curtains and let us peeked into the world of creatures fighting on petty things who thought of no one but themselves: stockpiling tissue papers, hoarding facial masks, storing all the available hand sanitizers and medicines, to selling plasma…

Pakistanis were swift to adopt changes and embraced all the challenges the pandemic threw at it compared to many other hardcore countries. The ray of hope in technology, especially for Pakistan, as it made the transition with the whole world from physical to digital collectively. 

From grocery home delivery to taking classes at home, from online business meetings to consulting doctors online. Pakistanis understood the situation and they made a quick move to tackle it accordingly. 

Until the pandemic, Pakistan was always assumed a dysfunctional country that will never be able to adapt virtual workspace and internet-based businesses because of the brick and mortar mentality that runs deep in the blood. It’s a relief we have survived this historical moment- Covid’s lifeless time will be read in books and novels, and a new history will be written for our future generation. 

This shifting behaviour has pushed everyone into thinking about what can be done to solve tech-related problems and how they can make things work. They are focusing on innovation and digitalization more than ever. 

For example, in just a month, the government meetings held in a virtual place, from press briefings to court hearings, all took place with no sweat. As Veqar Islam says, 

“In just one month, Pakistan too has a new normal. A new normal, which was so abnormal, so farfetched, so unthinkable only a week ago”. 

Okay, since I have told you that the pandemic has changed Pakistan. Let us dive into some of the sectors that have been influenced mainly for the better. 

Grocery Home Delivery Services by Online Grocery Store 

Grocery Industry in Pakistan has seen a broader impact since the emergence of the health crisis. People shifted towards online grocery stores rather than relying on Kiryana shops or General stores. 

According to Consumer Behavior in COVID 19 (https://aurora.dawn.com/news/1143780/consumer-behaviour-in-covid-19), a survey published by Aurora Dawn, an increase in online grocery shopping has been observed. People opted for online grocery more than personal protection products, online food services, or other personal hygiene items. 

On asking a question, which grocery product people are buying from online grocery stores, the respondents gave the following answers. 

Among many other online grocery stores in Karachi, Grocery Basket seems to be enjoying a unique position in the market because of its collaborative and cooperative model approach that provides a single roof solution for people’s grocery needs. 

The founders of Grocery Basket, welcomes and embrace local retailers and trusted grocery stores in Karachi especially in times of businesses loss, and provide them with an online market place to showcase their offers, products and marketize their stores, to strengthen Pakistan’s local businesses.  

Telehealth and Telemedicine in times of physical distancing  

Health care practitioners turned adversity into an opportunity by offering their services online. Although platforms like Oladoc and doctHERS have been working for sometimes now and offer online consultations via phone call or a video call to the patient in need.

In this pandemic, they took a step ahead and offered their services to more than 7 million citizens, catering to 1,500 queries a day. Their selfless services were praiseworthy, and they earned respect and recognition of many. 

This digital capability, along with heroic sense, to respond to healthcare needs, is commendable. In a curfew-like situation, people were assisted in the comfort of their homes with no fear of catching the virus or spreading it. In short, everyone tried to act responsible socially than expected and took measures to flatten the curve together.  

Online education- The rise of online learning during the pandemic

You must have heard modern problems needs a modern solution. 

When the pandemic hit, all the educational activities were suspended, making 1.2 billion children out of school globally. In Pakistan alone, the number tolls into millions. The high-end private schools quickly moved to Zoom classes. Whereas, the Government of Pakistan initiated Tele school on PVT channel. 

Still, the gap remained wide as not all students have access to online lectures on both Zoom or tv channel, and missing one lecture means missing the whole chapter.  

There and then, we see the decisive role of Learning Pitch, an award-winning EdTech educational platform that understood the gap, realized the need for time, and provided hope to more than 40,000 students in a month. 

It gave free access to their specialized learning Management System to empower the intermediate students, so they can study without the fear of missing any class, and gave the student the power to pause or rewind the lecture including the resources. Their state-of-the-art learning management and unique learning glass methodology teach that technology can enliven the dreams of ‘Parha Likha Pakistan’ and ‘Taleem Ghar Ghar.’  

Online Pharmacy is bringing out the best. 

There are times when no one wants to go out, especially after Covid-19. People avoid coming in contact with other people and trying to keep their distance minimum due to the fear of catching the disease. 

Although the number of Corona positive cases have gone down, but the fear of 2nd wave is still lurking at the back. This is where online pharmacies have taken the space of delivering the needed medicines at home. 

The digital presence of pharmacy makes life easier and better for the customers as they deliver medicines within time, keeping the emergency in mind. Such as Sehat, one of the first pharmaceutical e-commerce websites in Pakistan and Dvago in Karachi, the fitness and wellness expert, ensures the delivery of the medicine, safety gear, and even those medicine or health products that may be short in the market.

Final thought- Living in the future  

We are living in an unprecedented time, which was thought only to be happening in the future. The future that seemed so far, so distant, is our new normal now, and imagining life without it makes everything seem strange and abnormal. 

The pandemic has changed our lifestyles for the better, from the health and hygiene perspective to entertainment and technology. This change may be permanent, but it has forced Pakistan and the business sector to rethink their fundamental strategies and upcoming up with new models that can be a part of this new future. 

See Also: Interest in Online shopping in Pakistan during Covid 19 and beyond

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