Child run over by extremists in Nigeria walks again after major spinal surgery at Sharjah hospital

Ali was unable to walk more than a few metres after attack

A six-year-old boy has undergone life-changing spinal surgery at Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah, enabling him to walk again after three years. Ali, from Nigeria, was run over by a vehicle during an attack by an extremist group in 2014. Courtesy: WAM
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A six-year-old child has undergone life-changing spinal surgery at Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah that has enabled him to walk again after being confined to a wheelchair for the past three years.

Ali lost the ability to walk after suffering major trauma when he was run over during an attack by an extremist group in 2014.

The boy had been experiencing pain that was progressing over the past three months. Examination revealed kyphotic swelling in the lumbar area, and he walked with a left side spasm leaving him unable to walk more than 10 metres, according to a report by the national news agency Wam.

Ali was flown from Nigeria to the UAE by Dickens Sanomi Foundation, who collaborated with Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care, GIPLC, in order to undergo the life-changing surgery. The boy survived the corrective surgery and defied doctors’ belief after walking just seven days after the major surgery.

Dr Nishith Bhargava, consultant neurosurgeon at Zulekha Hospital, described Ali as "a very strong boy who is determined to live".

"The complications were with respect to the accuracy required while operating on the small size of the child’s nerves and skeletal system," he said.

"We had to take extensive care not to damage adjacent nerves to ensure healthy healing post-surgery. We are happy we managed it well and successfully completed the procedure."

Immediately following the surgery, the boy was admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 48 hours where his progress was monitored. After just seven days, the boy walked on his own accord and is continuing to make a speedy recovery.

"It is usual that patients undergoing such a surgery would need intensive physiotherapy and at least three weeks to be able to walk again. Ali has blown us away with his rapid miraculous recovery," the doctor said.

Managing Director of Zulekha Healthcare Group, Taher Shams, said: "Our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in rescuing Ali and helping him regain his health. We are thrilled to have been able to be a part of Ali’s successful journey of recovery and wish him a long and happy life."

Wam reported that the Sharjah and the hospital was the ideal destination for the child’s recovery given the ongoing humanitarian efforts of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, and Wife of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.