Success Stories

Ahmad Jamshedov: Savoring life after COVID-19

Ahmad Jamshedov*, 70, was in great shape, living his life to the fullest with his children and grandchildren in a mountainous village of Roshan District in Tajikistan. On a typical day, Ahmad, a pensioner, would spend time in his courtyard, walk a mile or two, work on his farm and play with his grandchildren.

And then, he contracted the severe form of COVID-19.

During August 2020, Jamshedov, began experiencing shortness of breath and generalized weakness, including a mild fever. Rest and home remedies didn’t help. Ahmad and his family did their best to help him recover at home, but his condition was worsening with every passing day. When he was struggling to catch his breath and feeling so weak that he couldn’t take himself to a hospital, his family convinced him to take him to the Roshan District Hospital (RDH).

There, he tested positive for pneumonia and suspected COVID-19. He was immediately admitted to care. As his breathing worsened, doctors at the Roshan district Hospital realized he needed specialized medical care and sophisticated diagnostic medical technology, which was available at the Aga Khan Medical Centre, Khorog. The team at RDH consulted with the team at AKMC, K and he was transferred to the High Dependency Unit at AKMC in Khorog. There Ahmad was placed on the ventilator and had CT scans and other diagnostic tests performed.

Physicians at AKMC arranged a teleconsultation with a group of Ismaili Health Professional Association (IHPA) specialists in the USA under the AKDN Digital Health Programme. For the next few days, Ahmad‘s fever rose and fell, his breathing was supported by a ventilator. He was heavily sedated and often delirious. The IHPA doctors shared their knowledge and experience based on established best practices and standard of care with AKMC to provide Ahmad with the best possible chance of surviving.

In the next few weeks, Ahmad gradually improved; he was ready to be taken off the ventilator. A few days later, he was transferred back to the Roshan District Hospital, where the medical team resumed care. After another week at the hospital, he was well enough to go home. It took a month of close coordination between Roshan District Hospital, AKMC, Khorog and IHPA under the robust AKDN Digital Health Programme along with the support of his family, for Ahmad to be healthy again.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

Zaina finds a cure for her chronic skin condition

Zaina Hussain*, a 55-year old resident of Sadat Valley, Bamyan, Afghanistan was suffering from a rare skin rash on her face for over a year. Assuming the rash was routine acne, she tried several home remedies to alleviate the symptoms, such as using pomade, which she bought by walking a distance of 10 kms to a private pharmacy. However, there was no improvement.

Zaina first accessed care at a dermatology hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. There, doctors prescribed pomade and informed Zaina that the rash unfortunately had no cure. Confused and helpless due to lack of options and resources, Zaina started experiencing psychosocial distress. The condition made her feel frustrated and embarrassed. The stigma attached to the disease led her to socially distance herself from friends and family, further isolating her, ultimately leading to depression.

Deeply concerned, her family brought her to the out-patient clinics at the Bamyan Provincial Hospital (BPH), which was seven hours away from her home, to seek a second medical opinion. The OPD doctor referred Zaina to the services of the AKDN Digital Health Programme being offered at BPH.

Zaina met the coordinator and explained her condition and her concerns about her emotional and social wellbeing. The coordinator described how live teleconsultation worked and its impact on people’s quality of life in the past. Finally seeing a ray of hope, she was scheduled at live teleconsultation in dermatology with Dr. Hayatullah Noor Shalizi, Dermatologist at French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC), who diagnosed her with Rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes redness, burning, painful bumps and other variable signs and symptoms.

Dr. Shalizi prescribed antibiotics with a combination of skin care routines, all of which worked well for Zaina. The treatment plan not only alleviated her dermatological symptoms, but contributed significantly to her social, mental, and emotional well-being. Zaina’s healing process took place over a period of six months, during which she attended five teleconsultation sessions with the Specialist.

Dr Shalizi and Zaina both expressed positive reviews regarding the treatment process and outcome. In addition to the positive health outcomes, the AKDN Digital Health Programme enabled Zaina to save approximately Afs 32,500 (USD 430), which she may have otherwise had to invest for travel and accommodation costs associated with accessing tertiary specialist care.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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