Aster Hospitals Bangalore conducts the country’s first emergency evacuation for critically ill patients during the pandemic from Yemen. Stranded patients will get a new lease of life after combating illness for several months. With this initiative, Aster Hospitals Bangalore strengthens its commitment of ‘We’ll treat you well’ and providing quality care and service to millions of people across the world. All Patients & their family members were tested COVID-19 negative before boarding the flight and after landing in Bangalore
Bangalore, December 23rd, 2020 – In a one of its kind initiative in the country, 62 critically ill Yemeni patients who had been combating several illnesses for close to 9 months and required urgent transplants, treatment and care have been given a new lease of life through the efforts of Aster Hospitals Bangalore and the Government of India (GOI). Close to 120 passengers, including the patients and their family members, have been provided emergency evacuation from Yemen to India. Many of these patients were suffering from chronic illnesses and were undergoing treatment at the hospital. However, owing to the pandemic and the ensuing travel curbs, these patients had to postpone their treatment. Due to the delay in follow-up care and treatment after several months into the pandemic the health of such patients had now started deteriorating which indicated an exigent need for medical assistance. With this initiative, Aster Hospitals Bangalore has taken a step towards strengthening its commitment of ‘We’ll treat you well’ and providing quality care and service to millions of people across the world.
All Patients & their family members were tested COVID-19 negative before boarding the flight and after landing in Bangalore. Among these 62 patients, 13 cases are of war injuries affecting the knee and spine of the patients, 4 patients require cancer treatment, 3 patients require a live organ transplant, 2 patients require cardiac care. As most of these patients are immunosuppressed, they have a high risk of contracting the COVID infection and fall in a highly vulnerable category. Therefore, considering the best interest of these patients amid the pandemic, Aster Hospitals Bangalore in collaboration with the Government of India undertook this mission to save the lives of these patients. Currently, more than 200 patients from Africa and Middle East regions have registered under this mission and they will be brought to the hospital for further treatment in the coming weeks.
Sharing his views on this initiative, Shri D. V. Sadananda Gowda, Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India who also played an integral role in this initiative, said: “In the recent years, India has been a draw for patients from African, Middle East and other developed countries. Our nation is fast emerging as a preferred destination for medical tourism and the number of patients arriving for treatments has grown exponentially in the last several years. As we had received numerous requests from several patients from African and Middle East countries who were looking to seek treatments at hospitals in Bangalore during the pandemic therefore we collaborated with Aster Hospitals Bangalore to ensure that these patients receive appropriate medical care. We have worked hard to make sure that these international patients face minimal problems in these very trying times and have offered the best of our support to assist the hospital in facilitating their travel. We acknowledge the efforts taken by Dr. Nitish Shetty, CEO, Aster Hospitals, Bangalore and his team and appreciate the efforts which they have taken in this direction. We believe that such initiatives not only help in showcasing the prowess of our country’s healthcare infrastructure on a global scale but will also lead to stronger ties between the country and its neighbours.”
Elaborating further on the initiative and speaking about the help received from government officials in making this initiative possible, Dr. Nitish Shetty, CEO, Aster Hospitals, Bangalore, said: “Approximately half a million patients travel from 30 different countries to India for medical treatment. Unfortunately, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, a majority of these patients could not travel and are unable to get access to quality care. The drive behind undertaking this initiative was the overwhelming number of requests which patients were sending us to help them. Therefore, keeping true to our mission of “We treat you well” we reached out to the Government of India who helped us in expediting the process and eventually we identified Yemen as the country with which we wanted to our initiative. We have also now tied up with other Middle East countries like Iraq and Oman and are in the process of helping the stranded patients in these countries. There are currently many more such stranded patients across the globe who require immediate medical assistance and we as a leading healthcare provider in the country are ready to serve them to the best of our capabilities.”
“We are grateful to the Government of India and are extremely thankful to Shri D. V. Sadananda Gowda Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Mr. Dammu Ravi, Ministry of External Affairs Additional Secretary and Coordinator of COVID-19, Mr. Ashok Kumar, Indian ambassador to Djibouti and Mr. Anil Kumar, Consulate of Djibouti who helped us at every step, recommended us and assisted us in getting the visas processed for patients in Djibouti – Africa. Without their assistance, we would not have been able to FastTrack the process and provide medical assistance to the affected patients in the nick of the time. We owe the success of our entire mission to each of their contributions. It is through this strong collaborative approach and the relentless support that we were able to conduct this mission during the pandemic.” Dr. Nitish Shetty, CEO, Aster Hospitals, Bangalore further added.
Explaining the challenges which he faced during the pandemic, Mr. Nazir, a patient undergoing treatment at Aster Hospitals Bangalore said: “I had visited the hospital in March 2020 for a liver transplant, however, due to the unavailability of international flights, my donor was not able to reach to the hospital because of which I had to postpone my transplant and I had to return to my country, in a critical state. Even though the medical team at the hospital had ensured continuous care through regular consultations and we had decided to conduct the transplant once the pandemic had subsided, however, with the pandemic continuing even after 9 months, my situation started to worsen and I required an urgent renal transplant. This is when I reached out to the hospital and requested their assistance in making my transplant possible. I also informed them about the condition of the other patients and sought their help in bringing them to India.”
“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Aster Hospitals Bangalore for undertaking this initiative. They not only stepped in to facilitate our air transport for us but also made sure that none of us faced any challenge in the procurement of visas. As our country is a war-affected country and we do not have an embassy, hence, each time if someone has to apply for a visa they have to travel to another country namely Djibouti which is an East African country authorized to issue visas to Yemeni patients. Since there were several curbs levied on travelling during the pandemic, therefore, it was difficult for us to personally apply for a visa. However, with the intervention of the hospital, we were able to overcome this hurdle and can now continue our treatment in India without any obstacles.” said patient Gamal Ali Alkhader Mohammed who hails from Yemen and is currently undergoing treatment at Aster Hospitals Bangalore.