Group picture of hospital staff including hospital’s founder and managing director Dr Shabeer Nellikode, the hospital’s (first in the right) celebrated the baby’s early birthday last week as the baby was being repatriated to Manila. Image Credit: Supplied

ABU DHABI: An Abu Dhabi hospital took care of an abandoned baby for almost a year, and repatriated him to Manila on Tuesday with the help of the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

The baby boy, named Sebastian, was delivered by a Filipina at the Universal Hospital’s emergency unit here on August 11 last year. Soon after, the mother left the hospital on the pretext of arranging money to pay the hospital bills and documents, but never returned. The baby was conceived out of wedlock as the woman’s husband was living in the Philippines.

Also living in the Philippines now, the mother refused to claim the child fearing the consequences on her married life.

The embassy issued a passport to the child and followed up his case with the UAE authorities in order to repatriate him to the Philippines. Currently, the child is in an orphanage in Manila.

Constancior Vingno Jr, Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News on Tuesday, “It’s been almost a year since the mother abandoned the baby at the hospital and escaped to the Philippines.

“We are very grateful to the Government of the UAE for facilitating the baby’s repatriation to Manila and to the Universal Hospital for caring the baby for almost a year,” the ambassador said. Three nurses at the hospital were deputed to look after the baby round the clock.

Last week, about 300 hospital staff celebrated the child’s first birthday.

Talking to Gulf News about the woman who delivered the baby, Dr Essam Hamed Ali, a senior quality manager at hospital, said, “After a few days of delivery, the mother stepped out [saying she would] bring the passport and marriage certificate and settle the hospital bills but she never returned.”

Dr Ali added that the woman feared that taking the baby, which was born out of wedlock here, would jeopardise her marital life.

Following the mother’s disappearance, the hospital complained to the police and reported the matter to the Philippine Embassy.

“Since August 11, 2016, we had taken complete responsibility of the baby and [of his repatriation],” said Dr Ali. The hospital incurred many fines on account of Sebastian staying in the country illegally for more than 11 months. But with the efforts of the mission, the government waived all fines and the embassy bought the child’s ticket to the Philippines, Dr Ali said.

Hospital’s founder and managing director, Dr Shabeer Nellikode, said, “I sent a person to the Philippines who met Sebastian’s mother but she was not interested in taking charge of the baby.

“If she doesn’t want to claim the baby, he can be adopted to assure him a bright future,” said Dr Nellikode.

Nurse willing to adopt the baby

A few people are interested in adopting the child including Dr Essam Hamed Ali, a senior quality manager at Universal Hospital, but due to the legalities involved, cannot do so at the moment.

A Filipina nurse at the hospital is also keen to adopt Sebastian.

Myann, Neonatal ICU in-charge nurse at the hospital, told Gulf News, “I would like to adopt this baby since the mother is not interested in claiming him.”

Talking of the bond that developed between the hospital staff and the baby, Abis said, “We were very attached to the baby [having looked after him for so long]. We miss him too much,” she said.

“I am following up with the Philippine Embassy on the adoption procedures. Once all things are finalised, I would travel to Manila,” said Myann, who is single and has been working with the hospital since 2014.