Abu Dhabi: Like all parents, M Ahmad was delighted by the birth of her son, Mohammad, in August 2014. But a few short months later, her joy turned to concern when she was told that Mohammad had a birth defect that could potentially affect his overall wellbeing and future fertility.
“When we took my son to be circumcised, the doctor pointed out that he had something called hypospadias. This means that he has an unusual flow of urine because of the structure of his penis: his urethral opening is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip,” Ahmad, a 34-year-old homemaker from Pakistan, told Gulf News.
“While it was initially not a concern, the doctor said Mohammad would need surgery by the time he turned two years old to avoid repeated infections,” the mother explained.
Mohammad is now aged five years old, but his parents financial condition hasn’t allowed him to benefit from a corrective surgery.
Implicated by his business partners, Mohammad’s father and the family’s sole breadwinner was imprisoned in 2018. He is still unemployed, and while the family’s visas have been renewed through the generosity of members of the community, neither Mohammad nor his parents and younger brother are covered by comprehensive health insurance.
“The community has lent us as much financial support as they could manage, but the insurance package we are under does not support Mohammad’s surgery since it is a congenital defect. My son has met all his developmental milestones so far but I worry that we are missing the surgical window that will ensure his future health,” Ahmad said.
According to a paediatric surgeon at a private hospital, the corrective surgery will cost Dh25,000.
“We have not yet been able to enroll our son in a school, not only because we are financially constrained but because we are worried about him suffering from infections. We obviously want to give our son the best chance at life, and at this stage, this means getting him the surgery he needs,” Ahmad said.
What is hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a common congenital anomaly, occurring in one of every 250 male births worldwide. Recent reports in local media have indicated a successful corrective procedure for a five-year-old at a Dubai private hospital.