2-year-old with Pakistani passport undergoes life-saving surgery in India

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on April 18, 2021 | Last updated on April 19, 2021 at 12.25 am

Kulsum had undergone four cycles of chemotherapy in Dubai.

A two-year-old UAE-based girl with a Pakistani passport has got a new lease of life after undergoing a rare bone marrow transplant in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Kulsum, who is an Afghani but holds a Pakistani passport, underwent the procedure at Aster MIMS Hospital, Calicut. According to the healthcare group, this is the first successful bone marrow transplant performed on a child as young as Kulsum.

Kulsum was diagnosed with congenital acute myeloid leukaemia. She had undergone four cycles of chemotherapy in Dubai. Her doctors suggested she undergo a bone marrow transplant, but the treatment procedure was not available in Dubai.

The family faced multiple obstacles while seeking treatment in India with a Pakistani passport.

Though Kulsum's family are Afghanis, her grandparents had come to the UAE decades ago for business. They travelled to the UAE with a Pakistani passport as they could not travel with an Afghani one at that time, according to Aster. Kulsum's father, Mohammed, was born in the UAE and acquired a Pakistani passport.

After their travel was facilitated, Kulsum underwent intensive chemotherapy. When her symptoms subsided after her chemo, she underwent a hemopoietic stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant). Mohammed donated stem cells to his daughter.

Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman of Aster DM Healthcare, said: "It is common for foreigners to seek medical treatment in Kerala. However, in this case, despite such complex circumstances, it is an outstanding example of the fact that Kerala's healthcare has gained global attention."

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