SHAKEELA BEGUM, NOW 65 YEARS OLD, has been living in fear since she had a heart attack 10 years ago. The fact that she hasn’t fully recovered from this ordeal both physically and emotionally makes her life very difficult. “I’m okay when I’m busy, otherwise I keep thinking that I’ll have another heart attack,” she says with a worried look on her face. “I can’t do as much, because I get tired very quickly,” she adds.
Like many women her age, Shakeela leads a rather sedentary life in the Karachi home she shares with family. She spends most of her time cleaning and looking after her grandchildren and rarely leaves the house other than for food and medication. “I prefer going to the nearby pharmacy, even if it costs more, than going to the hospital and waiting in line for hours to get my medication,” she explains.
The downside to this alternative is that, for financial reasons, Shakeela is not buying a sufficient amount of medication and therefore not taking the prescribed dose. “I know I should be taking my medication every day but this way I can also save some money for my grandchildren — they are young and have a future,” she argues.
© World Health Organization