O-levels Student Develops Telehealth Applications

Hammad Gadit, an 18-year-old O-levels student, believes that while red tape is holding back change in the public sector, the private sector is opening new vistas

The government has in recent years frequently advocated a ‘Digital Pakistan’ but the bureaucracy seems reluctant to change, impeding digitisation of state institutions even as the private sector incorporates technological innovations.

Hammad Gadit, an 18-year-old O-levels student, believes that while red tape is holding back change in the public sector, the private sector is opening new vistas of investment through startups that bring in new applications for the borderless market of the internet.

Gadit has developed two such applications – one, Econoxe, to help small investors navigate the stock market, and another, Nitoxi, gauging the likelihood of a coronavirus infection. The teenager, who worked on these applications with the assistance of his peers, Bassam Ahmed, Sabeer Asad, Shayaan Salahuddin, Karan Vankwani and Zain Ibrahim, said it cost the students under Rs100,000 to develop the two applications.

Financial fix With Econexe

Gadit and his peers aim to bridge the information gap between a layman and a professional investor. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Gadit said financial literacy in Pakistan is very limited, especially in the stock market where small investors traditionally trade on sentiments moved by the news or rumors.

In contrast, large investors invest stocks on the basis of economic fundamentals explained in reports prepared by highly trained professionals. To mitigate this difference, Gadit said, he and his team have pledged to provide information affecting the movement of stocks in the capital market free of charge.

Elaborating on how the app was developed, Gadit said their work began with seed money of only Rs20,000. Gradually around 100 young people joined their mission, helping to enrich the application, gather information, analyse data, graphics and above all, bring it to the general investor.

These 100 young people are the founding team of this application, which has already succeeded in building a financial literacy community, says Gadit, adding that he came up with the idea for Exonoxe from a book on global economics. The author of the book attributed the failure of small investors in the stock market to lack of information, recalled Gadit.

Accurate and timely information can make the difference between profits and losses in the trading of shares, he said. Information on economic fundamentals is not easily accessible for the common man, who will benefit from the app, he added. According to Gadit, if both small and large investors have the same information, the market will stabilise as speculation in the stock market and the likelihood of losses for small investors would decrease.

When the idea first began to take shape, Gadit said he discussed it with his teachers, friends and some bankers. Following a positive response from them, he teamed up with his peers at Nixor College to develop an application that provides timely and easy-to-understand information on the stock market.

O-levels Student spent Rs20,000 from his own pocket on the development of Econexe while Nixor College invested another Rs20,000. The application, introduced in June 2021, has information and analysis of stock market indices of All-Share Index and 100- Share Index of Pakistan Stock Exchange, in addition to the Japan, United Kingdom, and United States of America stock market indices.

The developers are working on increasing accessibility by providing information on the app in Urdu along with English, added Gadit.

Detecting Covid

Nitoxi, the other application created by Gadit, is a web-based application, which took around a year to develop. The application integrates healthcare with technology and aims to detect changes in olfactory senses. It has two components – fragrant scratch cards and the application, which tracks the user’s sensitivity to smells.

The scratch cards can be purchased online and after using them, one would have to enter information, including the intensity of the scent they smelt, on the application. Nitoxi thens estimate the possibility of coronavirus using computer algorithms. The questionnaire on the app asks for information regarding other symptoms as well and the possible exposure one might have had to the virus by attending public events or coming in contact with an infected person, among other details.

After filling out the form, the user has to scan the QR code available on the scratch card. The app then analyses the information provided and assesses whether the person is healthy, at risk or needs a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis. Gadit stressed that the application only assesses the possibility of a Covid infection. It aims to cut down the chain of transmission.

He added that the application was tested on scores of students from foreign universities and the results were fairly accurate. It was also tested in Nixor College, with 500 scratch cards distributed on campus and the results were satisfactory, he claimed. The purpose of the application is to reduce the load of PCR testing by advising people to get tested if there is a 50 per cent likelihood of them being infected, elaborated Gadit.

The application can be used at educational institutions, airports, stadiums and other places of mass gatherings, he said. Gadit added that his team has been speaking to Indus Hospital, the Dr Essa Hospital and Diagnostic Centre and other relevant organisations and companies about taking the application public. The one-of-a-kind application cost under Rs30,000 to develop, said Gadit, adding that the funds came from the dean of his college.

Future is digital

According to Gadit O-levels Student, technological innovations and digitisation can help improve governance, infrastructure and ensure transparency in public projects. There has been rhetoric about ‘Digital Pakistan’ but little has been done in practice to incorporate digitisation in government affairs.

Gadit believes the public sector lacks commitment when it comes to adopting digital processes and modern technology but in the private sector this is fast becoming the norm. The number of startups in Pakistan has increased and given the motivation of youngsters in this sphere the future is bright, he said.

This story is part of a weekly series that seeks to bring to light the unsung heroes of Karachi – the hawkers, traders, doctors, teachers, engineers, lawyers and daily-wage labourers. It is they who make Karachi the city of lights.

Originally Published By Tribune

Arsalan Ahmad

Arsalan Ahmad is a Research Engineer working on 2-D Materials, graduated from the Institute of Advanced Materials, Bahaudin Zakariya University Multan, Pakistan. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arsalanahmad-materialsresearchengr/

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