New Delhi: Bedridden for past two years after discontinuing her secondary school education, the visit to India for medical treatment is a double delight for Sameera Mohammad Hazza, a 21-year-old Yemeni woman. The long-awaited advanced treatment in the land of her favourite Bollywood movies has revived her dream to get well soon, continue her studies and become a medical doctor. She also hopes to meet at least one of her dream actors — Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan or Abhishek Bachchan (son of Amitabh) during her stay in India.
Hazza was the only woman among the second batch of 90 Yemeni patients who arrived in New Delhi for advanced medical treatment on June 22 as part of an Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) humanitarian initiative as announced by the UAE leadership to help Yemeni people.
Two years ago, she sustained serious hip injuries after falling down from a bridge while escaping an Al Houthi militia attack in her residential area in Lahej in Aden, Hazza said from her hospital bed with the help of a translator when Gulf News visited VPS Rockland Hospital in Delhi last week.
Hazza’s mother, Umm Sameera, 50, who is accompanying the daughter to Delhi, said she and her family had to face a series of tragic events at the same time that Hazza was injured.
Hazza’s father, a Yemeni soldier, was seriously injured in an Al Houthi attack and lost his memory. “He received gunshots in eight places around his body. Now he is almost in a stupor and keeps asking where he is,” the distraught mother said.
She finds solace in his one gesture — “sometimes he wakes up and calls my name; that is my only relief”. Umm Sameera said.
She and her other four children — Hazza has four siblings, two sisters and two brothers — had a difficult time looking after their father and Hazza, both of whom have been bedridden for two years. Hazza, said the mother, has been continuously taking painkillers.
The doctors in Yemen recommended advanced treatment abroad for Hazza but did not find her father fit to travel for the same. The war-torn country has limited medical facilities.
Umm Sameera had been knocking on doors of the local authorities in Yemen to take her daughter for advanced treatment abroad during the past two years.
There was an opportunity for treatment in Sudan, which did not work out. “I approached [local authorities] at least 40 times but in vain,” she said.
Finally, she was able to reach the UAE authorities in Yemen, who accepted her request to take her daughter to India.
When Hazza landed in India, she felt a sense of familiarity with the country as she used to watch a lot of Bollywood films. “Yemeni television channels regularly telecast Bollywood movies and I watch them whenever I can,” she said.
Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Abhishek Bachchan are her favourite Bollywood actors and she has a secret wish to meet at least one of them during her stay in India. “I will be more than happy to meet one of them,” Hazza said, smiling.
But her most important concern is to revive her dream of becoming a medical doctor after her treatment is completed. Her career, she said, was her top priority. “I feel I will get well soon and I can continue my studies and achieve my dream to become a doctor,” Hazza said her eyes brightening. In a voice filled with pride, Umm Sameera told Gulf News that Hazza was good at her studies and has already memorised the Quran.
Her daughter, she said, was inspired to become a doctor due to her friends, one of whom is studying medicine and another taking a course in pharmacy in a medical college in Yemen.
Hazza said if she gets a chance to study medicine in India, she would grab it. Around 29 of 49 Yemeni patients in the first batch who reached Delhi in April have returned home after successful treatment. The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) is planning to provide treatment for more than 1,500 Yemenis, said Dr Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna, the UAE Ambassador to India.
Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, said this reflects recognition of India’s medical infrastructure, the capacity of Indian doctors and hospitals to provide a full range of multidisciplinary treatments at very competitive prices.
Dr Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of Abu Dhabi-headquartered VPS Healthcare that runs three hospitals in Delhi, appreciated the humanitarian effort of the UAE leadership, ERC and the UAE Embassy for the Yemeni people. Indian Ambassador Suri and his team at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi extended tremendous support by organising visas and facilitating other arrangements that were critical for patients coming from Yemen where India does not currently have an embassy, he said.