Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Little Seta is symptomatic of the reach of philanthropy

UAE generosity goes beyond mere donations – it can involve hands-on care too

Seta Al Aboudi, with her father at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Seta Al Aboudi, with her father at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

Last month, an Abu Dhabi hospital gave a little Yemeni girl the incredible gift of hearing. Seta Al Aboudi is only two years old but her short life has been fraught with difficulty: she was born deaf in an impoverished country devastated by conflict. Ever since the Houthi coup in Sanaa, Yemenis have suffered incredible hardships, which has left half the population on the brink of starvation. Shortages of medicine are common, with thousands dying from outbreaks of cholera and preventable disease. It will come as little surprise that in Seta’s home province of Al Mahrah, not a single doctor was equipped to treat her.

But her family did not lose hope. They inquired about a UAE initiative to treat residents’ hearing problems for free and contacted the right authorities, which agreed to help Seta. She was brought to Abu Dhabi in March, where she received her first cochlear implant, enabling her to hear for the first time, and is due to have the procedure on her other ear in a few weeks.

Her family, understandably, have been overwhelmed with joy. Nor are they alone, as this is not the first time the UAE has extended its generosity to those who need it most. Last month a deal between the health ministry and two pharmaceutical firms allowed low-income patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis and blood cancer to receive free drugs. Many patients from faraway countries seek life-saving treatment in the UAE. In July, Princess and Jamie, two Sierra Leonean children, received treatment for heart disease in a Dubai hospital and even got a surprise visit from the president of their home country. During the Special Olympics World Games this winter, UAE hospitals also catered to the medical needs of 250 athletes who required medical treatment. The inspiring story of Seta, and others like her, shows the extensive reach of UAE philanthropy, which goes beyond financial aid.

Updated: August 26, 2019 12:39 AM

SHARE

SHARE