By Dhaka Tribune

He was given special permission by camp authorities to seek treatment in Dhaka

A Rohingya refugee child, with a health condition called hydrocephalus, has undergone a potentially life-saving procedure in Dhaka.

The operation was carried out successfully by a Dhaka-based neurosurgeon, Dr Rezina Hamid, and her team, said a press release issued on Thursday.

He will be discharged later in the day and will spend a few weeks recuperating. He will then travel back to the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Harvard Medical School Neurosurgery Professor Benjamin C Warf, an expert on the condition, said: “At this age, the brain has finished the bulk of its growth (by age 2) and the cognitive and motor effects are irreversible.”

Dr Rezina Hamid, formerly trained by Professor Warf, remarked that without the procedure, Omar Faisal was in danger of becoming completely blind.

The treatment involved the implantation of a shunt, under general anaesthetic, via a hole made through the skull to allow excess fluid to drain away to another part of the body.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up within the brain. About half of untreated children die by the age of two and most of the remainder have large heads and are developmentally delayed, spastic, and blind.

Omar, a six-year old boy from Andang, Myanmar, who currently lives in Kutupalong Rohingya camp, was given special permission by the camp authorities to take treatment in Dhaka.

His parents were unable to access medical care in Myanmar, so they brought him Bangladesh to seek treatment several years before the refugee influx of August 2017.

However, they found the medical costs prohibitive and returned home without treatment. Later, they arrived in Bangladesh again as refugees.

Omar’s parents praised their son’s bravery and resilience.

In particular, they recalled how during their flight from Myanmar to Bangladesh, Omar-who had to be carried- asked to be left behind so that he did not slow down his parents and siblings.

They said: “We know this operation has risks, but we really want him to have a chance. We are very grateful and now it is in god’s hands.”