Noor Alam with his second son Noor.
Noor Alam is the first patient to be cured of Hepatitis C at MSF’s Machar Clinic. Noor Alam is a resident of Machar Colony, Saddam Chowk, Karachi. He lives with his wife and six children in a rented house midway down a narrow ally.
Approximately seven years ago Noor Alam started to experience severe pain in his body. He went to a local clinic for tests and discovered he had contracted Hepatitis C. To sustain his treatment he subsequently had to sell his house. The series of treatment was not successful. Despite facing financial ruin and with a young family to feed, Noor Alam was not cured after two courses of treatment. His situation started to deteriorate. As a migrant from Bangladesh, Noor Alam does not have access to advanced medical treatment in the government health system.
Last year, Noor Alam heard about the MSF clinic in Machar Colony. He visited the clinic and was soon after added to the treatment program.
During his time of treatment he would have to send his eldest three children (girls) to work in the shrimp peeling market so that the family would have food for the day. The girls were unable to continue their education because of this. One bucket of shrimps can take up to one hour to peel generating 20 Pakistani Rupees (USD0.19). They work for a minimum of six hours a day. Noor Alam’s eldest son is still attending the local school, he wishes for his son to be educated and to be able to build a future other than fishing or fishery.
“I am unsure how I contracted Hepatitis C, I think it is the water that made me ill” he says. “The water here is polluted” he adds. It is a common misconception amongst residents of Machar Colony that they can contract Hepatitis C via polluted water. To Noor Alam’s delight he is now cured of Hepatitis C.
Noor Alam's wife sits on the floor on the first floor in the hope of catching a little sun with her youngest daughter and her second eldest son.