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Artistic Fabric & Garment Industries’ Digital Healthcare Partner Wins Accolade

Artistic Fabric & Garment Industries (AFGI)’s digital healthcare partner, doctHERs, won first place in the Tommy Hilfiger Social Innovation Challenge.

The Pakistan-based healthcare program creates digital health solutions for employees within the company’s value-chain. With Smart Clinics, AFGI’s female factory team members receive access to doctors and primary or secondary healthcare on factory premises. On-site nurses leverage online technology to connect patients to remotely located doctors and medical practitioners in real time.

“Female workers make up about 60 percent of our workforce,” said Aisha Javed, AFGI director. “We believe in empowering and enabling these women to perform their best and doctHERs provides a great tool for us to do so.”

The Tommy Hilfiger Social Innovation Challenge is a global initiative that supports entrepreneurial start-ups with positive social impacts on the fashion value chain. Winners receive a year-long mentorship with Tommy Hilfiger’s internal experts globally, $50,000 to $100,000 grants to grow their business and a place on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Founded in 2006, doctHERs addresses issues throughout Pakistan’s healthcare field. According to doctHERs, 85 percent of all medical school graduates are women, but only a quarter of them practice medicine due to socio-cultural barriers such as marriage and transportation issues.

Additionally, 85 percent of Pakistanis lack affordable healthcare, and for many women a doctor visit means lost daily wages, and long waiting times for care.

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“We are very happy to work with a company like AFGI that focuses on empowering its female workforce by prioritizing their health,” said Mahnoor Farishta, doctHERs innovation strategist and business development manager.

With the support and funding, doctHERs plans to enhance its services. “Tommy has committed to this initiative, as a means of best practice to promote the wellbeing of members in their supply chain and beyond,” Farishta added. “We plan to scale this project further by incorporating digital payments into this platform, enabling us to manage the healthcare trajectory of these workers, and further empower them by eventually providing access to credit and financial services.”

AFGI’s partnership with doctHERs is one of several corporate social responsibility programs initiated by the Karachi-based mill. The company has sponsored several school founded by The Citizens Foundation and is part of the P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) program developed by Gap Inc. Through P.A.C.E., female employees are given foundational life skills, technical training and support that will help them advance in the workplace and in their personal lives.