By Ihtiram-ul-Haq Khattak
Suhaib was born in misfortune. He and brothers had hemophilia—a potentially fatal disorder in which the body’s ability to control blood clotting is impaired. This hereditary disease can cause the patient to bleed to death. Suhaib’s family went through this tragedy when his sibling died of the disease, years ago. Both his grandparents, who live with them are paralyzed and bed ridden.
Suhaib has had a blueish complexion, since birth. Such is the irony that the meaning of his name Suhaib is “the one with reddish complexion”. He had been unwell since his birth. When the father mustered enough money to take him to a hospital in Muzaffarabad, a town several kilometers from their village, his greatest fear was realized. Suhaib, like three of his siblings, lacked clotting factor VIII in his blood, causing Hemophilia. Health facilities in Muzaffarabad, lacked expertise to treat patients like Suhaib. He was therefore referred to the capital city, Islamabad. The patient’s family travelled to-and-fro multiple times between Muzaffarabad and Islamabad, whenever Suhaib needed treatment. The family couldn’t afford the cost of living temporarily in Islamabad, so whenever Suhaib recovered slightly, they used to travel back to their abode, to a remote village of Muzaffarabad. In February 2015, the condition of the boy got critical, with a sudden loss of balance and coordination. The family immediately hired private transportation and rushed back to Islamabad. The pediatric physicians at the facility diagnosed an intracranial bleed. Suhaib had bled into his brain. He needed factor VIII injections in an emergency, to stop the bleeding and make the blood clot. Suhaib later needed several blood transfusions to compensate for the massive internal bleed. The cost of factor VIII ranges between PKR 35,000-75,000 depending upon the number of injections administered to the patient.
For the family, the cost of this medical incident was unbearable. His father being the only earning member of a family of six critical patients, worked as a salesman in a cosmetics shop. He earned a meagre wage of PKR 8,000 per month. The current treatment amounted to ten times his salary.
Suhaib’s father with three hemophilic sons, two paralyzed parents, was extremely constrained with his already scanty income. The family having already lost a son to hemophilia and could not afford to lose another one.
At the emergency department hospital, doctors on duty asked Suhaib’s father to arrange between PKR 60,000 to 70,000. The family had nothing left to sell, and nobody left to borrow money from. That is when Heartfile Health Financing was contacted by the registered doctor and we got the privilege of helping him.
Ihtiram ul Haq Khattak is the leading Senior Manager of Heartfile Health Financing