Afghan girl gets new lease of life after bone marrow transplant at Kerala hospital

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Kozhikode(Ker), Apr 17 (PTI) A two-and-a-half-year-old girl from Afghanistan had a miraculous recovery after undergoing a rare bone marrow transplant at a private hospital here.

It is for the first time in any hospital in the state that such a bone marrow transplant surgery was successfully performed on a child as young as Kulsum, who was recently diagnosed with congenital acute myeloid leukaemia, authorities at Aster MIMS Hospital told reporters here on Saturday.

According to hospital sources, the baby girl had undergone four cycles of chemotherapy in Dubai, where her doctors suggested her to undergo a bone marrow transplant as early as possible.

As the medical procedure was not available in Dubai, Kulsum's family travelled to Kerala and sought the treatment at Aster MIMS hospital here, they said.

However, the girl and her family faced several legal hurdles before ensuring treatment at the hospital, they added.

Though Kulsum's family hailed from Afghanistan, her grandparents had migrated to the UAE decades ago for business purposes with a Pakistani passport as they could not travel with their own country's passport then.

As Kulsum's father Mohammed, was born in UAE, he too possesses a Pakistani passport.

They encountered numerous obstacles while seeking treatment in India with a Pakistani passport.

However, the hospital group's chairman Dr Azad Moopen directed Farhan Yasin CEO, Aster MIMS North Kerala to enable the baby girl and her family's travel to India after settling all legal issues and carry out her treatment as early as possible.

After undergoing intensive chemotherapy at the Aster MIMS and her symptoms got subsided, she underwent a hemopoietic stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant), the sources said adding Mohammed donated stem cells to his daughter.

Azad Moopen 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'.

Kesavan M R, the consultant Haematologist who treated her, informed that Kulsum is on the route to a speedy recovery after her bone marrow transplant.

Besides Dr Kesavan, Kulsum's father Mohammad, Mr Farhan Yasin (Cluster CEO, Aster MIMS North Kerala), Dr K V Gangadharan (Head, Department of Oncology), Dr Suresh Kumar E K (Head of Pediatrics) attended the press conference arranged at the press club here. PTI LGK ROH ROH