Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Saudi Arabia offers treatment for conjoined Yemeni twins

King Salman Aid and Relief Centre says it has a team ready to help boys born near Sanaa

A Saudi medical team has offered to treat Yemeni conjoined twins following a plea from doctors in Yemen's rebel-held capital for the newborns to receive specialist care abroad.

Abdelkhaleq and Abdelrahim were born outside Sanaa around 10 days ago and share a kidney and a pair of legs but have separate hearts and lungs.

The head of paediatrics at Sanaa's Al Thawra hospital, Dr Faisal Al Babili, said his department lacked the facilities to treat or separate the newborns and appealed on Wednesday for help from abroad.

Later in the day, the head of Saudi Arabia's King Salman Aid and Relief Centre, Abdullah Al Rabeeah, said he had a team that was prepared to treat them.

He said arrangements were being made to transport Abdelkhaleq and Abdelrahim from Sanaa to the kingdom "as soon as possible", the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

Mr Al Rabeeah said the team would study the possibility of separating them.

Health services in Yemen have collapsed since the country's civil war began in 2014. Most hospitals are not equipped to provide specialist treatment for rare conditions.

Bringing patients out for treatment poses enormous logistical challenges.

A Saudi-led military coalition has restricted access to rebel-held areas of Yemen since it intervened in the war to support the government in March 2015, including flights to and from Sanaa airport.

The government accuses the rebels of smuggling arms through the airport and Hodeidah – the rebel-held port city vital to the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Updated: February 8, 2019 10:38 AM

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