Jahanzeb Effendi is a medical doctor who had served in both public and private hospitals of Pakistan. He spoke about the prevailing issues of our health care system with the Dawn on, April 7, 2017. While talking about the bitter experiences he had mentioned about a surgical case once he had handled in a government hospital:
“I had another case of a five-year-old girl who had swallowed a coin. The availability of 24-hour radiography at our hospital helped me determine the location of the coin and, after consultation with a postgraduate trainee, we admitted the child to monitor her.
The next morning, we located the coin – it was in the upper esophagus – and took her to the operating room where the consultant guided me in removing the coin.
I still remember the father’s tearful eyes. He told me how he had struggled to find a rickshaw at night to bring his daughter from Steel Town, more than an hour from our emergency unit because he could not afford an ambulance.”
The public hospitals in Pakistan are providing free treatment to poor patients but there always has been a shortage of equipment, lack of technique, and postoperative care. Hence, it’s not surprising that more patients contract severe infection after surgeries in these hospitals. The mortality rate is higher among the surgery patients in public hospitals compared to that of private hospitals. Often the staff, nurses, trainees or security personnel are corrupt and have allegedly forced patients to pay for medicines, lab tests and diagnosis which they should have received for free.
Private hospitals on the other side provide great facilities to the patients including hygienic environment, sterile equipment, good post-operative care, top-notch diagnosis,and treatment but all this comes at a high price and are only available to those who can pay thousands of bucks instantly. The privatized healthcare system in the country is plagiarized and divided by serious class differences, social status, and caste, where money is more valuable than human life.
Amidst this hopeless situation in our health care system,some great work has been done by selfless individuals, groups, organizations,and philanthropists who came up with alternative solutions to give people hope in dire needs. These visionary and generous souls have introduced the Crowdfunding platform in Pakistan to enable the patients to arrange the cost for their medical treatments and surgeries.
Crowdfunding can be seen as an alternative solution to raise money for the medical aid of poor patients. These fundraising platforms raise money to pay for the diagnosis, lab tests, medicines, pre or post-operative care and surgical bills of the poor patients.
Medical Crowdfunding platforms also focus on the donor-patient relationship and try to keep the entire process of fundraising transparent. A short personalized biography is set with each patient profile, including their medical condition, costs and treatment history.
Once the fundraising campaign takes off the website is updated with information about the money raised and later spent on the patient as the operation is carried out. Donors are also informed about the patient’s postoperative health and recovery.
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The Crowdfunding platforms in Pakistan have emerged as a hope and an indispensable resource to benefit the poor patients and help their families to come out of the complicated crises of life.
The Crowdfunding platform has established itself as a solution for poorpatients to survive in the commercial world where quality healthcare can only be accessed after paying a huge price for it.
Though public hospitals still serve some of their intended purposes the private hospitals have turned the health care system into a business which is only aimed to generate revenue.
The private hospitals ruthlessly ask the poor patients to leave if they were unable to pay. Even if the poor patients were given medical treatments in the private hospitals they were asked to deposit their CNIC before the treatment could commence. The CNIC were returned to families after they had cleared all the hospital bills.
When healthcare is treatedas a commodity, the Crowdfunding platforms are driven to fulfill the needs of poor patients so that they can get access to healthcare with dignity.
The medical online donation websites have become a reliable platform which the poorcan trust and can seek help from them in their most hopeless situation. Numerous patients have received specialized care after it was funded by the fundraising platforms otherwise many of these patients would have been living an abnormal life.
Crowdfunding platforms can save patients and their families from the humiliation of not being able to pay for treatment. This fundraising platform can perhaps stop a woman taking off her earrings or bangles or any other little jewelry she possessesto pay for the healthcare cost. The medical fundraising platform can stop the poor families from selling their properties to save their loved ones.
Healthcare is a basic right and people should not be compelled to beg for it. Whether a patient is rich or poor, no one should ever be forced to compromise with their self-respect to get a service like healthcare which is their basic right as citizens in a democratic country.
If the government or corporations aren’t willing to take steps to change such mindless norms and practices, we should step up and associate with the Crowdfunding platforms to contribute to their fundraising campaigns for the poor patients.
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