Dubai Crown Prince pays medical bills of Nigerian mother stranded with newborn quadruplets

Kate Ng
·3 min read
Dubai skyline by night: istock
Dubai skyline by night: istock

The Crown Prince of Dubai has paid for the steep hospital bills of a Nigerian mother stranded in the city with her newborn quadruplets, it has been reported.

Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took care of the mounting medical bills faced by 29-year-old Suliyat Abdulkareeem and her husband, Tijani Abdulkareem, after the birth of their two boys and two girls at the Latifa Hospital for Women and Children on 1 July.

The quadruplets were born prematurely at almost 31 weeks via an emergency C-section. They were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit on ventilators, racking up over AED 400,000 (approximately £82,912) in medical expenses since they were born.

Mr Tijani, a 32-year-old chef at a restaurant in Dubai, told CNN the family had no medical insurance and he had been “sleepless” with worry over how they would pay for the hospital care and treatment.

The Nigerian community and other nationals in the city joined forces to help the family raise AED 42,000 (£8,700) to pay part of the bills. After seeing the family’s story in the media, the Crown Prince stepped in to pay their hospital bills.

“It’s just a huge favour and we are still in shock because we didn’t even know how to get money,” said Mr Tijani.

The couple decided to name two of their children after the Crown Prince as a show of gratitude, and one of the girls will be named Latifa after the hospital.

Dr Muna Tahlak, CEO of the hospital, said in a statement that the family and hospital staff were “overwhelmed” by the Crown Prince’s generosity.

She said: “We are extremely grateful to Sheikh Hamdan for his generosity. He has covered all medical expenses for the mother and her quadruplets.

“We are blessed to have the support of our leaders in our efforts to provide the highest quality of internationally recognised medical care to our patients.”

The couple had planned to send Ms Suliyat, a hospital cleaner, back to Nigeria to give birth as they had been living in shared accommodation with others and renting a bigger home would have been difficult with their combined income, reported CNN last week.

But travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic meant they were stranded in Dubai. Only diplomatic and essential flights are permitted into Nigeria and repatriation flights are scarce.

The babies’ unexpectedly early arrival also put a strain on the couple’s finances.

Mr Tijani said he was blown away by the support from the Nigerian and international community in Dubai, who have helped them pay for two months’ rent in accommodation large enough for the whole family. The babies have been taken off ventilators and are expected to be strong enough to leave the hospital soon.