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M.Aleem



Twelve-year-old Muhammad Aleem belongs to the remote village of District Kotli in Azad Kashmir, a mountainous region roughly 150 Kilometers northeast of Islamabad. His suffering began in June 2014 with high grade fever. After initial treatment by local ‘physicians’, he was taken to the District Headquarter Hospital (DHQ) Mirpur where a blood test diagnosed Aplastic anemia, a condition where the bone marrow stops producing blood cells.

Since the Mirpur hospital was not equipped to deal with this condition, the patient had to be brought to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad. By the second visit to the hospital for a cycle of preliminary tests as a first step towards the needed life-saving bone marrow transplantation (BMT), the patient’s family had spent PKR 150,000 which was their entire savings. BMT was a long and costly ‘road’ ahead, costing much more than what the family could ever manage. The breadwinner of the family, Aleem’s father, a primary school teacher earning a meager 18,000 PKR a month, had no means of conducting the necessary diagnostics let alone treat his son of this deadly disease. Even several years of his salary pooled together, was insufficient.

Luckily, Aleem was taken to a hospital, which was a registered site for Heartfile Financing. As in so many other cases, Dr. Sadaf Khalid, a registered Heartfile Financing doctor, simply had to send a plain text SMS requesting for the initial assistance package for BMT so that Aleem’s tests could be done. HHF followed its usual protocols by conducting the assessment and conveying approval in 24 hours.

Diagnostic tests are a critical step in the BMT process, as an appropriate match has to be found. In Aleem’s case, he was lucky that one of the siblings was a perfect match. The next step of assistance from Heartfile came in the shape of help for pre-transplant medication and diagnostics. The third was the transplant and the fourth was support for post-transplant medication. Over a period of 12 months the complex process of a BMT was performed. Based on a follow up on September 23, 2015, the patient is well, and his parents couldn’t have been more grateful to Heartfile Financing.

If the required financing for the procedure had not been secured, Aleem would not have survived and his family would have lost their first born.

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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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