Inaugural celebratory iftar brings together Kuwaiti patients
This Ramadan, children from across Kuwait who once received treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in London have come together, with their families, for a celebratory iftar in Kuwait to express their gratitude to all parties who made their care abroad possible.
At the annual iftar, which was hosted at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel in Kuwait, former patients and family members were greeted by local healthcare professionals and referrers who have an important role in facilitating the referral process from Kuwait to GOSH. As well as reuniting families, the event served as an opportunity for local healthcare professionals to develop collaborations, share knowledge and cement relationships for the good of children’s health in the region.
GOSH treats sick children from 90 different countries for rare, complex and multiple conditions, which includes 1,500 children from the Middle East every year. Through their special events and celebrations, the London-based hospital caters to a variety of different cultures and religions.
One patient who attended the celebration was one-year old Kuwaiti baby, Laila Almazidi, who went to GOSH in 2017 to be treated for laryngomalacia. Laryngomalacia is the softening of the larynx and can stop the child from swallowing properly. Depending on severity, it can lead to food going down the wrong tube to the esophagus or to the lungs, resulting in infections.
Speaking about her daughter’s condition, Laila’s mother, Sukaina Adel, said, “Laila was diagnosed with type three laryngomalacia. This is the severest type which requires surgery to fix so this is why we went to GOSH in London. Dr Ben Hartley and the London team were able to treat her within 3 months. Laila is all better now and doesn’t require any major follow ups. GOSH is ‘oh my GOSH’ - it was an amazing experience. The ward, the staff, the treatment - it’s all of this which is down to her recovery. If it wasn’t for the team there, it wouldn’t have been the same.”
Also in attendance was Dr Alya Hasan Askar, specialist paediatric neurosurgeon at Ibn Sina hospital, who expressed how collaboration with GOSH helps many Kuwaiti patients with rare and complicated neurological conditions. “We’ve recently had outreach from Dr Sue Chapman on how to manage the patient before they reach GOSH,” explains Dr Alia. “This was a great experience as it meant we were able to discuss the patient with GOSH consultants before they arrived at GOSH so they had better preparation and knowledge of the nuances they were going to experience. I hope this collaboration continues and we’re able to continue to pass the baton over in a positive way so patients continue to get the best treatment and transition possible.”
Commenting on the importance of this annual iftar gathering for their international patients and their families, Trevor Clarke, Director of the International and Private Patients Service at GOSH said, “Events like this are extremely important to us at GOSH as part of our mission to ensure all of our patients, past and present, are part of the global GOSH family. This iftar not only re-connects former patients and parents in a positive and fun atmosphere in their home country but also helps to show our appreciation, during this special month of Ramadan, to the Kuwaiti Government, local healthcare professionals and referrers who help make children’s treatment abroad possible.”
This event was organised by GOSH’s Gulf office based in Dubai Healthcare City. The Gulf office aims to ensure quality services are delivered and a smooth transition is provided to children and families referred from the region to GOSH in London.