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Ijaz Bibi


Ijaz Bibi’s ordeal started six months ago when she had an open fracture of the tibia and fibula after being hit by a motorbike in village Dhoke Sher Alam, Haji Shah, near Kamra Cantonment. The 45-year-old got a major surgery of the right leg performed by a local specialist but ended up with a post-operative complication. She kept visiting the same specialist for three months, incurring an expense of Rs. 2,000 each (inclusive of the consultation fee, medication and transportation) for the 10 visits that she made. During one consultation, the specialist recommended another surgery on Ijaz Bibi against a cost of Rs. 50,000. Unable to foot the bill, she declined the offer. Ijaz has been bedridden for the last three months. She is being looked after by her eldest daughter, a grade 9 student who has had to take leave from school in order to assist her mother and manage the house. The five-member family lives in a 3 marla house without gas and water connections and have no other asset. Ijaz’s husband is a mason in Islamabad, with a monthly income of about Rs. 5,000. He often brings medicines for her from a local ‘hakeem’ because that is all he can afford. Finding no other alternative, he ends up borrowing Rs. 40,000 from his relatives for his wife’s treatment. One day, Ijaz called up her cousin—a laboratory technician at PIMS—to share her predicament with him. The cousin contacted Dr. Imran Sikandar, professor of orthopedic surgery, who tapped the channel of Heartfile’s Health Equity Financing initiative. Ijaz got the requisite assistance for surgery (Rs. 35,000) within three days, and is now back home, busy as ever in her daily chores. Her daughter, who was on the verge of discontinuing her studies, has also resumed school.

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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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