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Brain drowned

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

By Bismha Nayyer


Murk- a 15 years old girl despite of her name which means Smile in Sindhi language doesn’t get to be much happy about anything in her life. In the ample age of 10 when young girls are mostly busy in playing, severe headaches, dizziness and weakness in her legs clogged her to do so.

Being from an economically recessive area of interior Sindh district Matiari, Murk’s father, only bread winner of family of 6 couldn’t comprehend about the disease severity enough to take her to a doctor.

Until one day lying in bed in her two bedroom’s kacha makaan, murk could see nothing but darkness. She was then taken to a nearby city Hyderabad to a private hospital in where she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus which is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) starts accumulating in the brain resulting in increased intracranial pressure which can lead to brain bleeding, swelling and even blindness. Despite the immediate procedure of Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting by surgeons, Murk medical condition doesn’t cease to deteriorate neither her parent’s financial state. After already being in debt of Rs. 400, and no more cashable assets to sell for Murk’s further treatment, her parents brought her to Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUHMS), a government hospital located in Jamshoro, Sindh. Keeping in mind patient instant need for replacing infectious Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt and her non-affording state, a registered doctor from LUHMS contacted Heartfile Health Financing on 24th Jan 2014 for financial assistance. Within 72 hours of request initiation, she was assessed for the poverty scale and has been granted approval on 27th Jan 2014 for the surgical intervention of Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting of Rs. 24,870. Through surgery the intracranial pressure was successfully released but unfortunately that didn’t bring her vision back. Traumatized by his eldest daughter lasting blindness, Murk father a daily wedger who used to earn Rs.400 per day didn’t have the money neither for the post-operative medicines nor to take their daughter back home. Unlike Murk’s fate HHF didn’t want to keep the patient and her family in more distress so we offered them some post-operative financial help in the form of healthcare assistance ancillary. The Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting failure rate among children from Sindh is 20% and this case was one of them.

Late intervention for hydrocephalus and failure of first time VP shunting which must have been resulted due to use of inferior quality shunts or poor post operation treatment compliance can lead to permanent brain damage and even blindness.

In either cases Murk was victimized by socioeconomic insolvency. HHF was contacted when water was way over patient’s head although because of our donors funding we could be able to save her second time from drowning!

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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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