x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Children flown to India for vital surgeries

More than 50 Iraqi children flew from Dubai to India yesterday to receive life-saving surgery courtesy of a UAE charity group.

More than 50 Iraqi children flew from Dubai to India yesterday to receive life-saving surgery courtesy of a UAE charity group. Each of the 57 youngsters, aged between one and 18, was accompanied by a parent on their journey to a Bangalore hospital, where most of them will receive heart surgery. The group Tareeq al Zuhoor has helped 238 children receive surgeries. Ayad Abbas, a founder of the group, said because of the "deterioration" of health facilities in Iraq, the trips abroad were essential.

Mr Abbas, who lives in Abu Dhabi, said he expected the group to spend no less than a month at the specialist paediatric heart hospital Narayana Hrudayalaya, in Bangalore. Lengths of stays can be unpredictable. Some children on previous trips were diagnosed with other illnesses which required further treatment. One 14-year-old boy lost his eye in an explosion in Baghdad. "He has tried to get eye surgery since the explosion, but has not been able to," said Mr Abbas.

"There's a lot of frail and petite children because many of them have blockages in their hearts. It will be wonderful when everything is finished." Countries in the Gulf have volunteered their services as part of the programme. About 85 children have been treated in Abu Dhabi. munderwood@thenational.ae