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Muhammad Owais


Three-year-old Owais Sher Afzal of Qasba colony, Metro wheel area Mangho peer (Orangi) Karachi had a congenital heart defect, an aortic valve stenosis which is a serious medical condition. Its diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that aortic valve stenosis often doesn't produce warning signs or symptoms early on, making it difficult to detect at first.

Soon after the patient turned 1 , Owais started coughing, had shortness of breath and swelling of ankles and feet. His parents took him to a local doctor who referred them to National Institute of Cardiovascular diseases (NICVD) Karachi. It was there that he was diagnosed with aortic valve stenosis and was advised aortic valvuloplasty. The procedure involves replacing aortic valve, a costly procedure, the disposables of which cost around Rs. 50,000 at NICVD.

The cost of the procedure was totally unbearable for the Owais’s aged father, who was a private security guard earning Rs. 8,000 a month. The poor family were economic migrants from the Swat region of KP who have come to Karachi in search of livelihood. Even his collective salary of six months could not match the bill of the procedure and hence the family opted for a simple palliative medication with a heavy heart. This medical regime months long medication put the family under severe economic burden and the family’s accumulative health care expenditure rose to Rs. 25,000 which was borrowed from friends and relatives piece by piece.

After 9 months of medication, the patient’s condition deteriorated due to the weakened heart and two year’s old frail body couldn’t take it anymore. He went unconscious and his peripheral areas of the limbs turned blue with a considerable swelling.The family rushed the patient to NICVD again where doctors insisted on carrying out the aortic Valvuloplasty procedure immediately but the family was in no position to afford the cost of the treatment. Dr. Najma Patel of NICVD contacted Heartfile Health Financing to see if the patient could qualify for financial assistance from the program.

Heartfile Health Financing quickly mobilized its patient assessment team in Karachi to conduct a socio economic assessment of the patient. Upon successful completion of the assessment, the patient was found eligible for full assistance from Heartfile Health Financing to underwrite the cost of the procedure.

Heartfile Financing conveyed the approval to the hospital (NICVD) where a swift operation saved the life of this three-year old boy. Heartfile Health financing was able to under write the cost of this surgery through the generous donations of its donors.

Follow up by HHF shows that the patient is getting better after the procedure and the family feels immensely thankful to Heartfile whose well targeted timely help in the mixed health care system of Pakistan not only saved their son’s life but continues to save many more throughout the year with donations from donors. The story of Owais is yet another testimony to the effectiveness and efficacy of the Heartfile Health Financing program.



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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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