Hua Wei Lin: Affordable care, closer to home

As 37-year old Hua Wei Lin boards the train in his home province of Hebei, China, it is difficult to believe that he was once unable to walk. Repeated bleedings in his knees as a young adult meant he had to rely on a wheelchair. Despite being diagnosed with severe haemophilia A at 19, without a job, he couldn’t afford the care and treatment he knew he needed. The activities of the NNHF China 8 project helped to change the life of Hua Wei Lin, and thousands like him.

Hua Wei Lin’s parents were aware he had bleeding tendencies since the age of two, when a childhood accident resulted in a cut on the chin that nearly caused him to bleed to death. Unable to afford to take him to hospital on this and subsequent occasions, his parents became accustomed to Hua Wei Lin spending days in bed throughout his childhood, waiting for his bleeds to subside. A particularly severe bleed, caused after a schoolteacher insisted he participate in a sports lesson, led him to receiving a diagnosis of severe haemophilia A at the age of 19.

A multi-faceted approach

At this time, the cost of haemophilia care was not fully reimbursed by insurance in Hebei. Hua Wei Lin could eventually only move with the support of a wheelchair, and he was unable to work on the family farm. Stories like Hua Wei Lin’s were not uncommon in the North East of China. This is why the NNHF China 8 project focused on seven provinces in this region, taking a multi-faceted approach to improving care.

The project established one of seven new Haemophilia Treatment Centres in Hebei and trained healthcare professionals in diagnosis, care and treatment. Leveraging on the increased interest of healthcare professionals in haemophilia, the project team provided targeted support to them on how to engage local healthcare authorities on the issue of health insurance reimbursement.

Collaboration leads to improved care

Alongside this, the project team collaborated with local chapters of the patient organisation, so that they could educate more members, raise awareness of haemophilia and join the efforts to engage local healthcare authorities. The team credits this network of healthcare professionals, people with haemophilia and local authorities for the achievements of the project.

The benefits of these activities are clear to see in Hua Wei Lin’s life. His haemophilia care is now fully reimbursed by insurance. Instead of undertaking a 2-hour train journey to receive care in Tianjin, he can visit his local Haemophilia Treatment Centre in Hebei. Through the NNHF project, he was taught to self-infuse. Today, Hua Wei Lin is on low-dose prophylaxis. He no longer requires a walking aid and is able to work as a delivery person: “My life has totally changed. Before, I had recurrent pain and I couldn’t work. Now I can go to work and I have no pain.”