Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

President of Sierra Leone pays surprise visit to Dubai children's hospital

Sierra Leone head of state drops in on recovering children from his country

Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone, and Fatima Maada Bio, visit 12-year-old Jamie at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital in Dubai. Courtesy Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital
Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone, and Fatima Maada Bio, visit 12-year-old Jamie at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital in Dubai. Courtesy Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital

Two young patients at a children’s hospital in Dubai received surprise visitors to their ward – the President and First Lady of their home country.

Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone, and Fatima Maada Bio, his wife, spent time at Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital in Dubai last month to visit two girls recovering from cardiac treatment.

Princess, five, and Jamie, 12, were flown from Sierra Leone to Dubai for care under an agreement between the hospital and The Chain of Hope, a charity that helps children in developing countries to undergo treatment for heart conditions.

Princess underwent heart surgery while Jamie underwent a catheterisation procedure used to diagnose and treat heart conditions. Both operations were successful and the patients have been discharged.

The surprise visitors “added more cheer and happiness” following news that the procedures had been successful with the President and his wife spending “quite some time with both families,” a hospital spokesman said.

“It is our duty and our pleasure to support the citizens of Sierra Leone wherever they are in the world,” President Bio said during the visit. “We are very pleased with the successful outcome of their journey and we wish them a safe return to their homes. There is nothing like the smile on a child’s face to give us a bigger hope for a bright future for our nation, and this is what we saw with Princess and Jamie.”

President Bio and his wife also toured the hospital, which is the only dedicated children’s facility of its kind in the UAE. It opened in 2016 to cater for children and adolescents up to the age of 18, with 200 beds.

The visit, which the hospital made public on Monday, took place on July 19.

“We are very honoured by the thoughtful visit of the President and the First Lady of Sierra Leone to two of our patients, and we are all pleased to see both Princess and Jamie in good health and on their way back to their homes,” said Dr Abdulla Al Khayat, chief executive of Al Jalila Children’s Speciality Hospital.

Updated: August 20, 2019 02:18 PM

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