When you’re sick, who do you turn to for assistance and caretaking? Chances are it’s a family member or friend. Whether suffering from a standard case of the flu or a chronic condition or debilitating injury, relatives and other close relationships are critical sources of support for all of us when we face health challenges.
The role of these trusted companions is perhaps even more essential during medical travel. Not only are patients who seek care outside their home region or country managing the stress of their healthcare needs; they are also doing so within a completely new context, and oftentimes a new culture. These additionally demanding circumstances make the support of a loved one more important than ever. That’s why A&K Global Health considers caring for attendants a form of caring for our patients. It’s also why we’ve advocated relentlessly for the recognition of their impact on our patients’ health outcomes.
“Hi, A&K Global India,” an attendant recently wrote to us through a Facebook message. “My name is Maureen [and I’m the] attendant who accompanied Damaris Bitengo to Delhi’s Fortis [Escorts] Hospital for treatment. I would like to thank you so much for the receptive and warm welcome you gave us right from the airport to the hospital. The attention you gave us was marvelous…I commend it, and recommend that you do it more and more! Even as we are still awaiting discharge [from the hospital], we want to thank you so much for everything.”
Damaris is Maureen’s mother. With financial sponsorship from Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) and A&K Global Health’s expert management of all aspects of her travel and medical treatment, Damaris was able to receive a hip replacement surgery in New Delhi. And with her daughter by her side to encourage and support her each step of the way, Damaris was able to make a complete and speedy recovery.
“This testimony is an example of how profoundly our thorough clinical and genuine interpersonal care affects not only our patients, but their accompanying family members, too,” says Morgan Darwin, A&K Global Health’s Chief Executive Officer. “It also underscores the importance of our advocacy for attendants to receive insurance coverage for travel expenses just like patients do, because we know on a human level how essential their presence is to accelerating the healing of their loved one.”
A&K Global Health routinely shares stories like Damaris’s and Maureen’s with funding organizations in all countries where we work to help administrators appreciate the role of attendants in optimizing healthcare outcomes. After three years of tracking and then relaying such patient experiences to Kenyan officials, in 2015 the NHIF had sufficient evidence to justify expanding benefits to fully support the travel and daily living expenses of caretakers, parents of child patients, and donors in transplant cases, in addition to designated patients themselves – a boon for Kenyan patients’ health, and a compelling example to other advancing national health systems of the power of comprehensive care. We are proud to partner with organizations like the NHIF which recognize and value the sacred relationship between patients and their closest caregivers. And we at A&K Global Health eagerly anticipate enabling many more such happy health endings for our patients by supporting their attendants, too.
In the photograph above: A&K Global Health patient Damaris Aluoch Bitengo (center) walks again after a replacement surgery to her right hip at Fortis Escorts Hospital in New Delhi, India. Her full recovery has been facilitated by A&K Global Health, including our Operations Officer Sushant Sharma (right), and by the presence of her daughter Maureen Kemunto Bitengo (left) throughout her international treatment experience.
A&K Global Health
A&K Global Health is a worldwide leader in realizing transparent, affordable, effective and innovative solutions to complex health challenges. We connect you with the right care for their needs, from coordinating international medical travel to facilitating quality local and regional treatment. We also optimize the impact of health institutions by introducing transparency, control and customization to the medical, financial and experiential aspects of your journeys. A&K Global Health is dedicated to empowering you to reach your highest health. Contact us today to learn how we can support you.