Pakistani girl, 5, needs urgent heart transplant

Parents of the girl with ball shaped heart can’t afford cost of treatment

15:46 January 13, 2018
NAT Umme Arwa -2

Dubai: She is five-year-old and has already gone through a lot of pain in her short life, but her heart condition requires that she must undergo more pain in order to live. Born with a heart in the shape of a ball, Umme Arwa’s heart has a missing artery, two blocked valves and three holes.

The little girl from Pakistan underwent an open heart surgery in 2013, but her complex heart condition requires her to undergo more surgeries or a heart transplant.

According to Arwa’s father Irfan Alam, who is currently jobless, he has so far spent Dh450,000 on the child’s treatment and has nothing more to spare. “I was running my own construction business and it was doing well, but when my child fell ill all my earnings were consumed by the cost of treatment. And then the economic situation also changed forcing me to wind up the business, since then I am jobless and now struggling to find funds for Arwa’s treatment,” said Alam, 35, a father of three daughters.

Alam says that doctors have suggested that Arwa either needs urgent surgeries or a heart transplant to rectify her condition.

He says that for her condition Arwa should be bedridden, but miraculously, she behaves like a normal child, interspersed by sudden attacks when she collapses and turns blue.

“Most of the time she is like a normal child, running around, talking and eating, but suddenly she turns blue and her oxygen level goes down, requiring us to rush her to the hospital. Earlier we used to get free treatment at Shaikh Khalifa Hospital but now we have to pay for everything wherever we go and the medicines are very expensive,” said Alam, desperately in need of help.

Arwa’s surgery in 2013 was carried out free of cost by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, however, since then Alam has found it difficult to get help from any quarters.

“I can’t afford the treatment anymore as I have no source of income and there are no jobs in the market. The surgeries or the transplant are expensive and due to her condition no insurance firm is willing to provide her medical cover and I have no idea how to get the treatment done,” said Alam, who has 10 mouths to feed including his parents, wife, three children and younger siblings.

Alam and his extended family came to the UAE six years back after selling all their properties in Pakistan to start a new life here, but after a bright start things turned from bad to worse.

“Our visas have expired and none of us have any jobs, my younger brother and sister are also looking for jobs but nothing has happened so far. I get part time jobs once in a while and that’s how we barely manage. I have also got some help from Pakistan Association Dubai, but it is hardly enough,” said Alam, adding that he or his family can’t go back home since they have nothing left there.

However, Alam’s primary concern right now is finding treatment for Arwa and he believes there are many hearts out there that will open up for the little girl.

Urging the community members to come forward with a helping hand, Pakistan Association Dubai told Gulf News that is trying its best to find help for the family.

“We have been approached by this family whose five-year-old daughter has a serious heart condition which needs immediate treatment. We feel as a community organisation it’s an obligation to lend a helping hand towards any person in distress. Our mission is to serve our fellow brethren and I request all members of the community to come forward, feel the pain of her parents and contribute for making her treatment possible,” said Rizwan Fancy, Director Public Relations, Pakistan Association Dubai.