Ahmad UllahPoya, a 28-year-old Afghani, only remembers his father through an encounter 27 years ago before he was kidnapped by an Extremist group. Today, Ahmad still has no information as to if his father remains alive or not.
But as life went on, Ahmad pursued his education up to his 12th grade, but he could not pursue further due to the current state of his home town and hence ended up taking the job of a driver who carried passengers around town. In the year 2014, the constant threat of the Taliban resulted in Ahmad being transferred to Karachi, Pakistan as a refugee, where his problems doubled. He encountered a heart problem for the first time.
On calling his uncle Mohammed Poya; a building construction contractor, who is currently an Australian citizen in Melbourne, they approached the doctors together who were based in Karachi. The doctors had tried to set an agreement that stated that he was allowed to be tested on, but they wouldn’t be responsible for any harm caused. On hearing this, Ahmad and his uncle were disheartened as every door of opportunity closed on them.
Ahmad was diagnosed with Shone’s Complex, a rare congenital heart disease consisting of multiple left heart obstructive defects. As Ahmad’s heart condition progressed, Mohammed’s friend at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, where Ms. Florence Gough recommended Dr. K. M. Cherian, and were able to get in touch with him. On contacting him, they understood that their door of opportunity lies at Frontier Lifeline Hospital. Ms. Florence Gough was majorly involved in providing support as they face a lot of difficulty in obtaining their visas.
Through the added involvement of Dr. Cherian, a letter drafted from his behalf to Visa Officer at Afghanistan, stating and facilitating the issues of their individual visa. After the drafting of this letter by Dr. Cherian, both Ahmad and Mohammed were able to travel to India for the former’s surgery.
Speaking on the same, Dr. K. M. Cherian – CEO and Chairman of Frontier Lifeline Hospital and Dr. K. M. Cherian Heart Foundation, said, “Ahmad has been through a lot and it is very unfortunate that he had to encounter such difficulties. With the success of this surgery, he not only has another shot a life but also the chance to live a healthy one. He is a young man and he has overcome many different challenges. I am sure that he will lead a good life and I am very hopeful of his future in the years to come.”
As they arrived on the 15th of August, Ahmad was admitted for surgery on the 25th of August. Post-surgery for the correction of the same, Ahmad is now back on track with a check-up due six months from now.
“I feel like I have been born again. I can never thank Dr. Cherian for all that he has done for me. He’s given me back my life and every little thing that I feel, feels new to me. My heart is beating and sometimes I place my hand on it to see if it is real, because all this feels like a dream. The people here, my doctors – Dr. Anto and Dr. Ayyapa, have been so supportive throughout the surgery and after it. The nurses and each and every other staff member has given a lot of priority to my uncle and I. After six months, as I come for my check-up, I will also try and make a holiday out of my trip by visiting in and around Chennai. It feels very good to not feel alien among the people over here. Dr. Cherian and his team will always remain in my heart and memory for as long as I live”, says Ahmad Poya
“My heart was under constant stress. I had trouble breathing, there was pressure and pain. Now, after my surgery, I feel like a brand new person. I cannot wait to see my family and I feel none of the troubles I faced before my surgery. I miss my home and my country”, Ahmad further added.
Afghanistan has been listed as one among the top 15 underdeveloped countries in the world. While the average life expectancy of an individual rests up to 60 years, the lives of many today are at stake. In terms of Healthcare, Afghanistan’s Health Sector is unsatisfactory even though it seems to be improving in an extremely slow rate. The country’s maternal mortality rate has resulted to 396 deaths/100,000 live births and its infant mortality rate has resulted to 66 to 112.8 deaths in every 1,000 live births.
With this being said, the rate of accessing health-related facilities, surgeries or any kind of healthcare is close to impossible.While many search for other extreme motives to meet their health needs, Ahmad’s story serves as an example to educate the outside world of what an individual residing in Afghanistan faces each day.
But this isn’t the first time this has occurred. A few years ago, Seema, a UK-based citizen and Dr. Cherian, had supported two Afghani children in Kabul, namely Zamzama and Zarif, who desperately needed cardiac surgery, a second chance in life. Living in war-torn Afghanistan, with no heart doctors in the country and no money to afford health care, lots of individuals face such a problem and even worse, even today. The surgery being a success, Ahmad Poya’s story of life after his second chance at life, now rests in a stable condition with a healthy heart.