Bengaluru hospital conducts emergency evacuation for critically ill patients from Yemen

Last Updated 23 December 2020, 11:58 IST

A private hospital here is providing medical care for 62 critically ill Yemeni patients, who had been combating several illnesses for about 9 months and required urgent transplants among other things, after conducting an emergency evacuation with the support of the Centre.

Close to 120 passengers, including the patients and their family members, have been provided emergency evacuation from Yemen to India. Many of these patients were suffering from chronic illnesses and were undergoing treatment at the hospital, Aster hospital said in a release on Wednesday. Owing to the pandemic and the ensuing travel curbs, these patients had to postpone their treatment, it said.

Due to the delay in follow-up care and treatment after several months into the pandemic the health of such patients had now started deteriorating which indicated an exigent need for medical assistance.

All patients and their family members tested Covid-19 negative before boarding the flight and after landing in Bengaluru. Among the 62 patients, 13 cases are of war injuries affecting the knee and spine of the patients, 4 patients require cancer treatment, 3 patients require a live organ transplant, 2 patients require cardiac care, the hospital said.

Noting that most of these patients are immunosuppressed, and have a high risk of contracting Covid-19, it said considering the best interest of these patients amid the pandemic, Aster Hospitals in collaboration with the central government undertook this mission to save the lives of these patients.

Currently, more than 200 patients from African and Gulf regions have registered under this mission and they will be brought to the hospital for further treatment in the coming weeks. "As we had received numerous requests from several patients from African, Gulf countries who were looking to seek treatments at hospitals in Bangalore during the pandemic therefore we collaborated with Aster Hospitals, Bangalore to ensure that these patients receive appropriate medical care," Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda was quoted as saying in it.

We have worked hard to ensure that these international patients face minimal problems in these very trying times and have offered the best of our support to assist the hospital in facilitating their travel, he said. Observing that approximately half a million patients travel from 30 different countries to India for medical treatment, Aster Hospital's CEO Dr Nitish Shetty said unfortunately, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, a majority of these patients could not travel.

The drive behind undertaking this initiative was the overwhelming number of requests which patients were sending us, he said, "we reached out to the Government of India who helped us in expediting the process and eventually we identified Yemen as the country.. We have also now tied up with other Gulf countries like Iraq and Oman and are in the process of helping the stranded patients in these countries."

Patients thanked the hospital and the government for the initiative, and for making sure that none of them faced any challenge in the procurement of visas.

"As our country is a war-affected and we do not have an embassy, hence, each time if someone has to apply for a visa they have to travel to another country namely Djibouti which is an East African country authorized to issue visas to Yemeni patients. Since there were several curbs levied on travelling during the pandemic, therefore, it was difficult for us to personally apply for a visa," Gamal Ali Alkhader Mohammed, who hails from Yemen said.

(Published 23 December 2020, 11:58 IST)

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