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Muhammad Aslam


Muhammad Aslam’s story establishes the inextricable link between poverty and ill health. Aslam has been a known patient of heart disease since 2005. Yet, he never paid heed to his physician’s advice for regular medication. How could he? With a collective monthly income of Rs. 11,000 and seven dependents to feed and clothe, he never had the money to buy medicines, which also explains why he has now become a patient of severe unstable angina. A resident of Bulawal, Sargodha, Aslam earns Rs. 6,000 as a barber; the remaining Rs. 5,000 are contributed by his son, who works as a private driver. The family’s only asset is a five-marla house which is a blessing in disguise, given the high rentals. Each time that Aslam experiences severe pain, he ends up being hospitalized. On at least five occasions in the last five years, doctors have repeatedly been advising angiography, which he could ill-afford. Heartfile’s financial assistance channel available to needy patients eventually offered a panacea for his seemingly-endless suffering. Heartfile initially received a request to pay for Aslam’s coronary angiography, which revealed a double vessel disease requiring stenting of two arteries. An amount of Rs. 220,000 was immediately approved to cater for the diagnostic and curative costs. Having undergone a successful surgery, Aslam is on the path of recovery and hopes to resume his job within a month

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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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