ISLAMABAD: A baby born prematurely to Pakistani Umrah pilgrims in Makkah last year was returned on Friday evening to his parents in Quetta, Pakistan — a full year after his birth and successful treatment in Saudi Arabia.
Bibi Hajra and her husband Ghulam Haider were forced to leave their baby behind after their Umrah visas expired following the birth of their son on Jan. 9 last year — a premature birth, with the baby weighing only 1 kg and suffering from severe medical complications at the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Makkah.
The baby, named Abdullah, was placed on a ventilator and stayed on in the hospital for a period of 46 days under the observation of doctors and consultants specialized in neonatal intensive care.
After this, the child was transferred to special care under the supervision of the Social Service Department.
“We had to return to Pakistan and leave our baby in the hospital as our visas expired, and then could not go back due to coronavirus,” a tearful Hajra told Arab News on Saturday from Pakistan’s southwestern Quetta city.
“Initially, I was very worried about my baby, but the hospital administration remained in touch with us. They used to show me Abdullah on video and also send us his pictures,” she said.
“We are thankful to the Saudi government, hospital authorities, doctors, nurses and Pakistani consulate in Jeddah for their cooperation,” she added.
On Thursday, the Maternity and Children’s Hospital in Makkah handed Abdullah over to a delegation from the Pakistani Consulate after taking care of him for a full year.
Abdullah’s father, Haider, who is a dispenser at a small clinic in Quetta, also expressed his gratitude to the Saudi government and the Pakistani mission for their support.
“Our child remained under treatment for one year but we have not even been charged a single penny,” Haider told Arab News.
“All the expenses were taken care of by the Saudi government,” he said.
The return of Abdullah to Quetta, he continued, had been arranged by the Pakistani Consulate in Jeddah free of charge.
“The Pakistani Consulate was in contact with the hospital as well as with the parents of the child. They provided all the medical facilities and kept Abdullah in complete care. Now he is absolutely fine and one year old,” the community welfare attache of the Pakistani Consulate, Saqib Ali Khan, who received the boy from the hospital on Thursday, told Arab News.
“When the hospital administration assured us that the child is completely fine, we sent him back to Quetta through a delegation and he was received by the parents,” he said.
Khan thanked the Saudi government, the Saudi Ministry of Health and the medical team at the hospital for providing the child with special care, and for keeping in touch with the family in order to reassure them over the entire year of their separation.