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Indian and Pakistani doctors join hands to give new lease of life to 3-year-old Afghan girl

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Pakistani doctor sponsored the liver transplant of Hadia Nesari that was performed at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital.

New Delhi: Indian and Pakistani doctors came together to save the life of a three-year-old Afghan girl last month, a move seen as a beacon of hope amid the border tension between the two neighbours.

The patient, Hadia Nesari, was admitted to a hospital in Lahore with a chronic liver problem that required an immediate liver transplant.

As the condition of her liver deteriorated, Dr Huma Cheema, the paediatric hepatologist who was treating Hadia in Lahore, got in touch with doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi.

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“The young girl was admitted in a hospital in Lahore. She had contracted chronic liver disease of unknown cause,” Dr Anupam Sibal, group medical director and senior consultant, paediatric gastroenterology and hepatology, Apollo Hospital, told ThePrint.

“We found that the child needed a liver transplant immediately. There was immense cooperation from doctors on both sides,” he said.

The cost of the surgery and the treatment was borne by Cheema. Responding to the generosity of the Pakistani doctor, even Apollo Hospital offered treatment to Hadia at a subsidised rate.

“Dr Cheema suggested that we go to India for the liver transplant but we had no money. She supported us financially and we got the Indian visa within a week,” Hadia’s mother Muzhgan said.

“It is because of the doctors from India and Pakistan that my daughter is alive today. We can’t thank them enough,” she added.

Hadia came to Delhi on 5 July. The surgery was successfully performed by a team of doctors at the Apollo Hospital.

“As her blood vessels are very small, we had to take extreme care while planning the transplant. Her father, Ahmed Fawad, became her donor,” said Dr Neerav Goyal of Apollo Hospital.

“It took us 12 hours to perform the surgery. Hadia is doing well now and her tests are normal,” added Goyal.

She has been discharged from hospital and has reached her home in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

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In a statement, Cheema said when she counselled the child’s family to go for a liver transplant, they broke down as they could not afford the treatment. It was then that Cheema decided to help them.

The family members said it’s because of the joint efforts of Indian and Pakistani doctors that Hadia got a new lease of life

As Pakistan and India celebrate their Independence Days — on 14 and 15 August respectively — Hadia’s mother has appealed to both countries to embrace “friendship” and “shun animosity”.

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