Father of six and a plumber and electrician by profession, Qasim Jan led a simple life in Mahzara Shabqadar in Charsadda. His life was going at “a snail’s pace” and he found it difficult to make ends meet. But that was six months ago.
Things took a turn for the worse. Jan was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease and later with hepatitis. Unable to work anymore due to his disease, Jan wonders how he will pay for his treatment, which is expected to run over a million rupees.
He lives with his brother in a locality where only a shabby sheet of cloth serves as a door, where streets are muddy with drain water and flies swarm all around — a place that does his poor health no good.
Jan said he was shocked when doctors told him of his liver disease. But more bad news was waiting. “My life came to a standstill when doctors dropped another bombshell on me during dialysis — that I was also suffering from hepatitis,” said the 37-year-old Jan in a low tone.
According to him, a kidney test costs around Rs80,000 followed by nearly Rs500,000 for a transplant. Apart from that, post-operation expenses can go up to Rs30,000 per month for a year, his doctor told him.
The treatment of hepatitis doesn’t come cheap either. A hepatitis patient requires 72 injections, one of which costs Rs2,700. This, along with the cost of kidney transplantation, takes up the total treatment cost to over Rs1.1 million.
“How am I supposed to bear these expenses when I am living on somebody else’s earnings?”
His 10-year-old daughter interjected, “One of our relatives is willing to donate one of his kidneys to my father but we don’t have the required expenses to get things in order.”
With tears rolling down her eyes, the little girl said she would lose her father if he is not treated in time.
Tufail, a social worker familiar with the case, said Jan was a hard-working man struck by multiple problems at the same time. “He was well-known in the neighbourhood for helping out others. He wouldn’t say no to anyone.”
The local community plans to visit a charitable organisation in Karachi to seek financial help for Jan’s treatment. Tufail said, “We will not let him down. We are with him.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.
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