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Baby: Sharee, born premature at six months and two weeks at Latifa Hospital in Dubai Image Credit:

Dubai

Dubai: The parents of a prematurely born baby girl are seeking help to clear a hospital bill that has touched half-a-million dirhams even as the child completed over 160 days at Latifa Hospital on Sunday.

Dubai-based Filipina Joanne Marie, 28, told that Gulf News that her first child, Sharee, was born ahead of term in the 25th week of gestation after she developed pregnancy-related complications caused by premature rupture of membranes (PROM). The condition is commonly described as water break.

Joanne works for a furniture store while her husband Sherwin Dayao is employed at a South African restaurant chain in Dubai. Between them they earn Dh5,000 which, the couple said, is barely enough to make ends meet let alone pay the huge hospital bill.

“Our insurance coverage is Dh124,000 but it is still woefully short of the amount we will need by the time our daughter is discharged. Where are we going to get the remaining money?” Joanna wondered.

“We are desperate and need help as we have means to settle our bills."

Sharee weighed just 750 grams when she was born on July 7. Since her lungs were not fully developed she had to be kept in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for three months until she could breathe on her own.

“I am grateful to the doctors who saved my daughter’s life and have been taking care her all these months. Our little angel is now out of danger and weighs nearly three kilograms. We can’t wait to take her home,” he said.

Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said they have “a dedicated health fund that works with charities for cases in DHA hospitals where patients are financially incapable of paying the bills.

“The department works directly with philanthropists, corporates and charities to help patients in need. Every DHA hospital has a social worker who provides all details of the case to the Health Fund Department for review. Those interested to contribute, can directly visit the hospital and approach the financial department or the social worker at the hospital,” said a DHA spokesperson in an email to Gulf News.