Agile Global Health Blog

NHIF cardiac program gets preschool teacher life-saving surgery

Mar 29, 2017 / Agile Global Health

Ebby Voregwa is a preschool teacher in Nairobi, Kenya. In May 2016, after several attempts at treating what she thought was pneumonia, Ebby was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease, with severe mitral stenosis and moderate aortic valve leak.

When her doctors discovered that she had a heart disease, Ebby was immediately hospitalized for 10 days – but the hospital bill was too costly for her, and she could not afford to pay for the complex and expensive cardiac surgery her doctors advised as treatment. She was added to the long waiting list of heart surgery candidates, and began to search for way to fund an operation. But saving money for surgery proved difficult, because as she awaited treatment, Ebby was put on a medication that cost her approximately KSh 5,000 per month – a handsome portion of her pay. To make matters worse, Ebby’s heart condition was impacting her ability to perform her duties at work: she found herself having to teach her students sitting down because her overworked heart became so quickly became exhausted whenever she was on her feet. Though constantly fatigued, Ebby pleaded to retain her teaching job, as continuing to work was the only way she could afford her medication or hope one day to be able to pay for surgery.

“When I received a call from A&K Global Health last December, informing me about the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) cardiac surgery program and reaching out to cardiac patients on the waiting list, I was not sure whether it was real,” Ebby remembered. She says she only truly believed this good news when “…I was called for pre-assessment at the Karen Hospital, where I eventually had my cardiac surgery done.”

“My family and I will forever be grateful because we had no heads or tails of where or how I was going to get this treatment,” said Ebby. “We were already under financial strain after losing my father…and then came the discovery of this sickness I never imagined I could have.”

“It is all about saving lives,” said Faith Simiyu, A&K Global Health Software Analyst and Cardiac Data Officer, “and we as the A&K Global Health team implementing the NHIF’s cardiac program are reminded of that reality every day by testimonies like Ebby’s.”

In the photograph above: NHIF cardiac program beneficiary Ebby Voregwa, far right, with her family shortly before her discharge from Karen Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the photograph below: Ebby receives a visit from the A&K Global Health team during her inpatient stay at Karen Hospital. Pictured here with Ebby is Joyce Wambugu, our Nairobi Care Director.

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