ABU DHABI // After six years of trying to conceive, 40-year-old Iqbal Hussain and his wife were blessed with a son but their happiness was short lived.
Mrs Hussain delivered the baby boy at a government hospital in Ajman. Her infant, born at seven months, had to remain in an intensive care unit for another two, resulting in a bill of Dh129,000 – Dh114,000 for the baby’s stay in the NICU and Dh15,000 for the delivery.
Mr Hussain, who has no insurance and earns a monthly salary of Dh7,240, could not afford the hospital bills and so a birth certificate was not issued for the child.
“They told me I had to pay the bill and only then will they issue my son a birth certificate,” he said.
The baby is now six months old and without a birth certificate he has no other official documents or a passport.
Mr Hussain, who works in marketing at a contracting company in Ajman, wants to send his family back home to Pakistan but, without a passport for his son, the family remains stranded in the UAE.
“I took out a loan to build a house in Pakistan and more than half my salary goes to the instalments,” he said.
With increases in rent, utility bills and general living expenses, Mr Hussain said he can no longer afford to keep his wife and son by his side.
“My father is also very old and ill and he would like to see my son. I need assistance to pay the hospital bill. I can never afford it and I’m supporting my family in Pakistan so I can’t ask them for help ” he said.
Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of zakat and social services at Dar Al Ber Society, said: “Mr Hussain has been working in the UAE for the past 15 years. There is no way that they could have predicted or expected a premature delivery and would be asked to pay this exorbitant amount. He needs the generosity and help of the community to pay this bill.”
(via The National)