The family was reeling under medical debt as the babies had to be kept in incubation for at least six weeks.
A big-hearted gesture from Dubai’s Crown Prince has spared a Nigerian couple hundreds and thousands in hospital bills after having quadruplets, Khaleej Times has learnt.
Suliyath Abdulkareem, a cleaner from Nigeria, delivered the babies – two boys and two girls – prematurely on July 1 at the Latifa Women and Children Hospital in Dubai. Her husband Tijani Adigun Shakiru, who earns Dh3,000 a month as a chef at a Dubai restaurant, was unable to meet the medical expenses.
In a report on July 3, Khaleej Times had highlighted the plight of the family that was reeling under medical debt as the babies had to be kept in incubation for at least six weeks.
The generous gesture from Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, has come as a ‘huge relief’ for the first-time parents.
“I am still in shock. I would not have even dared dream about it. This is better than a dream coming true,” an elated Shakiru told Khaleej Times upon hearing the good news.
The father said he is naming three of his babies Hamdan, Mohammed and Lathifa after the Dubai royal family members as a sign of gratitude. “I will always be indebted to this country and its leaders. May God continue to bless this country. That is my only prayer.”
“We are extremely grateful to Sheikh Hamdan for his generosity. He has covered all medical expenses for the mother and her quadruplets. The family and hospital staff are overwhelmed and such a gesture further motivates us to carry on our duties to the best of our abilities. We are blessed to always have the support of our leaders in our efforts to provide the highest quality of internationally recognized medical care to our patients,” said Dr Muna Tahlak, CEO of Latifa Hospital for Women and Children.
According to doctors at the hospital, the babies are healthy and doing fine. “Two babies have gained enough weight. But the other two have to be in incubation for two more weeks,” said a doctor. The couple has already incurred more than Dh460,000 in medical bills and it costs up to Dh4,000 daily to keep each baby incubated.
Community comes together
Shakiru said they have been getting by, thanks to the kindness of the people at the hospital and some members of the Nigerian community.
Abdul-Hakeem Anifowoshe, a Nigerian expat who was organising relief efforts for the family, said “they are overjoyed” by the royal gesture.
“This is an immensely generous gesture by Sheikh Hamdan, demonstrating that this country cares for its citizens as well as expats. We thank the hospital, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Nigerian community for all their support in helping the family,” Anifowoshe told Khaleej Times.
With help from community, he had raised Dh30,000 to pay part of the bills. They also managed to arrange an apartment for the couple when the babies are discharged.
Anjana Sankar is a journalist by profession and a humanist by passion. Her cluttered desk is not indicative of her state of mind.