Coronavirus: Sheikh Hamdan covers Nigerian quadruplets' medical bills

The Crown Prince of Dubai stepped in to pay for weeks of specialist baby care for couple stranded during Covid-19 pandemic

The parents of four premature babies receiving special care at Latifa Hospital have been thrown a lifeline by the Crown Prince of Dubai after he pledged to cover their medical fees.

Tijani Abdulkareem, 32, and his wife Suliyat, 29, faced costs of about Dh800,000 after she gave birth to quadruplets on July 1 following a cesarian section but had no health insurance after her hospital cleaning contract ended.

Those fees have now been covered by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, leaving the family overjoyed.

The babies were born a month early and placed in round-the-clock specialist care where they are likely to remain for at least another month.

“We would like to express our gratitude on behalf of the family to the UAE leaders, Sheikh Hamdan and the Latifa Women and Children's Hospital for the love and compassion shown to our family during this challenging and beautiful experience,” the couple said in a statement.

“We are immensely grateful and we can't thank you all enough.

“It is only Allah that can repay you all for all the good deeds. We will never forget you.”

The couple's plans to return home to Oyo, north of Lagos, to look after their soon-to-be expanded family were dashed after flights were grounded because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While Mr Abdulkareem continued to work as a chef at a restaurant in Al Quoz, his basic insurance did not cover the care of any dependants.

The Nigerian community and other UAE residents rallied to support them by donating to the hospital, but substantial costs remained.

Those have now been secured, allowing the family to return home to Nigeria as soon as the babies are well enough to fly.

As a token of their appreciation the couple decided to name three of the babies in honour of those who offered a helping hand.

One of the boys has been named Hamdan Alexi Tijani and one of the girls Latifah Marichell Tijani after the late mother of the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Another son has been named Mohammed Pride Tijani in honour of Sheikh Mohammed.

The couple now plan to return to Nigeria to be with family as soon as possible.

“The family hopes that this very little gesture demonstrates the families gratitude and appreciation to the leadership and the love we have for this country,” the couple said.

“We hope, if given the chance, to personally thank Sheikh Hamdan for his unconditional love and benevolence.

“If that opportunity does not arise we would hope that our message somehow gets to him.

“Finally we would like to express our gratitude to the Nigerian community in the UAE, the Nigerian Consulate UAE, the Portuguese and other residents that have come to our aid during this time.

“The diversity in the country is its strength.

“Without the openness and welcoming nature of the UAE leaders and people we would not have had the opportunity to witness this love.

“God bless the UAE, its leaders, citizens and the residents.”

Dr Muna Tahlak, chief executive of Latifa Women and Children's Hospital, praised Sheikh Hamdan's kind gesture.

"We are extremely grateful to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed for his generosity," said Dr Tahlak.

"His Highness has covered all medical expenses for the mother and her quadruplets. The family and hospital staff are overwhelmed and such a gesture further motivates us to carry on our duties to the best of our abilities.

“As the babies were born prematurely, they were admitted to the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where they received ventilation and respiratory support and other medical care to help them thrive. Over the next few days, they were gradually taken off the ventilator and the babies are gaining weight.

"All four babies are doing well, tolerating their feeds and do not have complications of prematurity. Two of them are now ready to be discharged as they now weigh 1.8 kilograms and the other two will be discharged once they reach the same weight.”