Pakistan: Stories from patients cured from hepatitis C in MSF's Machar Clinic in Karachi
Noor Alam - the first patient to be cured at MSF's Machar Clinic.
Last year, Noor Alam heard about the MSF clinic in Machar Colony. He visited the clinic and was soon after enrolled in the treatment program. While he was going through treatment, he had to send his eldest three children (girls) to work in the shrimp peeling market so that the family would be able to afford food for the day. The girls were unable to continue their education because of this. One bucket of shrimp can take up to one hour to peel, generating just 20 Pakistani Rupees (USD0.19). They work for a minimum of six hours a day. Noor Alam’s eldest son is still attending the local school; he wishes for his son to be educated and to be able to build a future other than fishing or fishery. To Noor Alam’s delight he is now cured of hepatitis C.
Kulsoom - "We all just wanted her to be cured."
Ajab is one of eight siblings: he has four brothers and three sisters. The younger three are still studying and it is the older two who support the entire household. Hepatitis C took their father at a young age and left the burden of the family on the elder two’s shoulders. Therefore when Ajab learned that Kulsoom also had hepatitis C it was alarming for the entire family. “We all just wanted her to be cured” says Ajab.
Ajab has supported his wife unequivocally during her treatment and is ecstatic that her treatment is complete and she is cured of hepatitis C. He says he hopes that MSF will expand their program to accommodate more people.
Nabi Alam - sharing the light of knowledge.
Nabi’s dream of attaining his Bachelor of Medicine had been temporarily paused. When Nabi showed the test results to his father, he was told that he may have been passed on the virus during his mother’s pregnancy.
The MSF outreach team informed Nabi that treatment was available at the Machar Colony Clinic. Nabi’s treatment commenced and it seems that it is having positive results. He has however decided to change his plan and not leave the country but rather launch an initiative called ‘The Light of Knowledge’. After his day job at school, Nabi helps teach some 400 local children who otherwise have no access to a classroom.
Tahira - "This illness has aged me".
Nine years ago Tahira discovered she had contracted hepatitis C. She went through two six-month courses of treatment, consisting of courses of injections that caused extreme side effects. During this time her children were looked after by her extended family that live close by.
During Tahira’s second course of treatment her husband who works in a workshop was unable to maintain the costly expensive injections she required. It was at this time that she heard of the MSF Clinic in Machar Colony, and she then started her third course of treatment there.
“I was beautiful before, I had clear skin. This illness has aged me but had it not been for MSF I could have lost my life and that would have been much worse for my children.”
She took the initiative to have all her immediate and extended family checked for the virus too. Her younger sister Saira also had hepatitis C; she was pregnant at the time. Unfortunately Saira lost her baby days after her birth.
All photos © Sa'adia Khan/MSF.
— MSF Access Campaign (@MSF_access) 26. Februar 2016