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Abdul hakim


Abdul hakim was born with Hydrocephalus, a condition in large volumes of cerebrospinal fluid gets accumulated in the cranial cavity, or the head. The implications of this abnormality are multiple for instance an increased pressure within the cranial cavity can cause severe headaches, vomiting, convulsions, vision loss and permanent deformities. Because the brain tissue can be severely damaged because of this condition, Abdul Hakim was at the risk of memory loss and delayed learning abilities.

Six months had elapsed, the parents out of desperation borrowed money from their relatives to pay for the treatment, a Ventriculo-Peritoneal (VP) Shunt. The shunt which drains the excessive fluid in the brain and channels it to the gut where it can be reabsorbed, was purchased and the operation was conducted.

What followed was nothing less than a nightmare for the family and more misery for the little infant. The shunt used was of inferior quality, and health service provider was not trained to undertake the procedure which requires skill and qualification. His cerebrospinal fluid drained rapidly, and as a result his headaches increased, so did his bouts of vomiting. Abdul hakim started losing power in his limbs and gradually his vision. When the parents reported their son to the neurosurgery department at Liaquat University Hospital in Hyderabad, they were told that their son would require and operation, a replacement of the faulty VP shunt. Abdul Hakim’s father being a daily wager, earning only Rs 8000 a month could not afford the procedure. He had migrated his family from Matiari to Hyderabad for better economic opportunities. He had no social capital to lean on to pay for the Rs.27000 required for the treatment. He had not returned the amount borrowed eighteen months ago for the previous procedure yet. The life of his son was at risk but he did not have the money for treatment because of high costs.

The service requesting doctors sent HHF a request for the patient, and after completing the due diligence, assistance was provided to Abdul Hakim. Though he is recovering, with decreased headaches, increased power in limbs but the little boy lost his vision forever.


What was a curable condition, turned out to be the start of a series of unfortunate events for the family, impoverishing them and leaving a life without vision due to weak regulation and a fragmented health system. It is only due to our donors that HHF is able to provide help to the most needy, in order to improve lives.


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Heartfile Health Financing (HHF) is an access to treatment program for non-communicable diseases. It provides financial access for high-cost treatment for those who are unable to pay, are likely to spend catastrophically or forgo treatment. HHF's mobile phone-driven process is fully transparent and offers help to patients with dignity. HHF currently operates in selected hospitals in Pakistan and is being prepared for scale-up.  

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