Struggling for survival: A smile that costs Rs2 million to restore

Published: March 1, 2012

Suffering from aplastic anaemia, time for little Usman is running out.

RAWALPINDI: 

Aplastic anaemia is not incurable, but for 12-year-old Muhammad Usman it might as well be.

As he sits on a bed playing a game on a cellphone at the high dependency unit of Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Usman’s mother narrates their ordeal.

For the past four months, Usman’s family has been struggling to arrange Rs2 million for his bone marrow transplant (BMT).

The class five student was brought to the hospital after he complained of body pains and fell unconscious at his school in Banjnial village near Tarnol.

Doctors diagnosed him with aplastic anaemia, a condition where bone marrow does not produce sufficient new cells to replenish blood cells. The disease can result in a cut-off of oxygen supply to the blood and cause several infections and severe bleeding, according to his doctors.

The BMT is carried out only at Armed Forces Institute of Bone Marrow Transplant in Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi, and costs around Rs2.1 million.

But money is not the only hurdle. The family also need to arrange for a willing person whose bone marrow matches that of Usman. The test that checks for matches, Human Leukocyte Antigen Test, is done at KRL Hospital and costs about Rs20,000, according to Dr Umer Saeed, Usman’s doctor.

With seven siblings as potential matches, the cost for testing is about Rs140,000. The chances that a sibling will be a viable donor are high, as each sibling has a one in four chance to have a matching bone marrow.

But while the family arranges for the transplant and testing costs, even the stopgap measure of blood transfusion has become a burden too difficult to bear.

“My husband, who ploughs land, is the sole breadwinner of our family. We have six daughters and two sons and don’t have enough money to bear the medical costs,” said Sundal Bibi.

“We have already sold one of our two buffalos and taken Rs100,000 as loan but the doctors are asking for too much money. My brothers and brother-in-law are daily-wage labourers and they cannot help me either,” she added in frustration.

When asked if she had approached the Pakistan Baitul Maal, the aggrieved mother said the procedure was too complicated for her to understand.

She appealed to the government to save her little angel, so that he may smile again.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Iqra
    Mar 1, 2012 - 12:41PM

    :( Can anyone give me contact details so I can donate some money?

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  • Probyn
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:02PM

    For Heavens sake, the least you can do is give the contact details for the family….
    Why would you highlight their plight and not allow us to help them..

    Recommend

  • asim khan
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:16PM

    Hi Thankyou for posting the New so people are aware but where is the contact information of the family. You new did not mention it for all of us Pakistanis if so you can email me their contact.

    Recommend

  • M
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:23PM

    Iam willing to donate..how??? Any email to contact? money transfer ?

    Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Kindly email me contact details ..thanks

    Recommend

  • Zubair
    Mar 1, 2012 - 1:40PM

    Please contact me too – or give me a contact name and number to contact.. I would like to help IA.
    zubair.ali@me.comRecommend

  • Salam
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Please share the details of the effected family. So that we can help. better if a verified account number can be provided.

    Recommend

  • W
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:20PM

    Can we have the contact/account details to transfer the money? May ET can take the initiative of setting up a donor bank account (given that they have published the story?)

    Recommend

  • Bilal
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:48PM

    Dear ET, please priode bank account no where people can send donation, else there is no use of story in ET other than product tears in readers eyes.

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  • ejaz
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:54PM

    please give me his family contact no

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  • Z G Ali
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:05PM

    Contact Details????

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  • Usman Lakhani
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:26PM

    Such articles should include contact details…

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  • jasam
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:49PM

    tribune, how about editing this article to give contact details of the family?

    Recommend

  • syed tassawar abbas
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:52PM

    i want to donate some money. can i have contact no, or details of that boy

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  • Express Tribune
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:37PM

    Contact Muddsiar Raja Correspondent The Express Tribune (Rawalpindi 0300-8562112)

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