Pakistani boy gets new life with help from Sonia Gandhi

November 20th, 2008 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) A 14-year-old boy will return to his home in Pakistan Friday with a new lease of life thanks to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi - yet another instance of people-to-people goodwill between the two sides.Mobeen Ahmed was suffering from cirrhosis of liver since he was two. While there was no transplant facility in Pakistan, treatment abroad would cost far more than his father Iftakar Ahmad, a cook, could afford.

After raising some money, Iftakar, Mobeen and his elder brother Bismil came to Delhi for treatment at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital. Looking for help, they turned to Gandhi.

A grievance redressal cell in Gandhi’s office responded to their request.

“He has eight siblings and his father works as a cook. Mobeen was a lost case till he reached out to the Congress president. The money for his treatment was raised through newspaper advertisements,” Archana Dalima, head of the grievance redressal cell, told IANS.

“Soniaji also requested hospital authorities to relax the charges for the liver transplant,” she said.

The hospital waived its fee and brought down the cost of treatment from Rs.1.5 million to Rs.600,000.

“We did not charge any fee for medical surgery,” said Anupam Sibal, paediatric gastroenterologist and group medical director at the Apollo Hospital.

“When we first saw him he was very weak, malnourished and suffering from anemia and jaundice. He had a bloated belly, yellow eyes, stunted growth and swollen nails. His liver was completely damaged and we knew that he needed liver transplant,” he said.

Bismil, 20, donated 40 percent of his liver for the transplant and the liver transplant surgery was done Oct 21.

“Now Mobeen and his brother have recovered well and are ready to travel,” said Sibal.

Before returning home in Lahore, Mobeen Wednesday met Gandhi, who gifted him a cricket kit and, knowing his fondness for Hindi films, some movie CDs.

His case reminded many of Noor Fatima, a two-year-old Pakistani girl, whose parents brought her here in 2003 for a rare heart surgery amid extensive media coverage leading to support from Indians, from prayers to financial assistance.

Mobeen was the fifth Pakistani child to undergo liver transplant at the Apollo Hospital, which has conducted 125 liver transplants in the last 22 months.

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