Eman Abdul Atti’s birthday being celebrated at Burjeel Hospital last Saturday. Her mother and niece came from Egypt while her sister Shaima also joined in. Image Credit: Courtesy: Burjeel Hospital

Abu Dhabi: Surrounded by family and well-wishers, Eman Abdul Atti, once known as the world’s heaviest woman, ushered in her 37th birthday in the capital on Saturday.

Her mother and young niece flew down from Egypt for the celebrations at the Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi, where Eman has been treated since May 4. They were joined by Shaima Selim, Abdul Atti’s sister who is accompanying her during the treatment process. Gathering in a room filled with balloons and party decorations, the party enjoyed some of Abdul Atti’s favourite cake.

Abdul Atti’s bedridden plight first came to attention when Abdul Atti’s family issued an online plea for help. Although she underwent initial treatment at a Mumbai-based hospital, Abdul Atti’s mental condition deteriorated, and her family chose to seek further care at Burjeel.

“We have seen a massive improvement in her medical condition [over the past few months], and she continues to be under the supervision of a medical team of over 20 doctors,” said Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, chairman and managing director of VPS Healthcare, which owns Burjeel.

Abdul Atti was in a particularly joyous mood during her birthday.

“We are all thrilled to see her happy. One of the major challenges we faced when she arrived was her [lack of willingness and ability to communicate]. We needed her to believe that she could get better and lead as close to a normal life as possible. [This is why] seeing the improvements in her condition makes me happy. She now interacts with everyone around her and is exerting tremendous effort towards getting better,” Dr Vayalil said.

“Our larger goal is to fight obesity and Eman will be the face of that fight. Once her recovery is complete, we hope she will become the ambassador for fighting obesity and will encourage people to live a healthier and happier life,” he added.

While initial reports suggested that Abdul Atti weighed about 500 kilogrammes, her current weight has not been revealed by treating doctors at Burjeel. But the goal is to reduce her weight to below 100 kilogrammes, Dr Yassin El Shahat, chief medical officer at Burjeel, had told Gulf News earlier.

“We are now planning for the second phase of her treatment, which will take approximately three to four months to complete,” Dr El Shahat said. In this phase, Abdul Atti is expected to undergo surgical procedures, including liposuction and the removal of excess skin, while still continuing to follow a conservative dietary and activity regimen.