Saudi KSRelief team steps in to save Yemeni conjoined twins

The two little boys, Abdelkhaleq and Abdelkarim, share a kidney and two legs but have separate hearts and lungs. (AP)
Updated 08 February 2019
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Saudi KSRelief team steps in to save Yemeni conjoined twins

  • Twins Abdelkhaleq and Abdelkarim share a kidney and two legs but have separate hearts and lungs
  • The tiny boys, who are being helped to breathe in an incubator, have separate heads

RIYADH: A medical team from Saudi Arabia has stepped in to save the lives of 10-day-old conjoined twins in Yemen.

The two little boys, Abdelkhaleq and Abdelkarim, share a kidney and two legs but have separate hearts and lungs. 

The head of pediatrics at Al-Thawra hospital in Sanaa, Dr. Faisal Al-Balbali, said the hospital had no facilities to treat or separate the babies and appealed for help.

The head of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, said he had a team ready to treat the twins. Arrangements were being made to bring them from Sanaa to the Kingdom “as soon as possible,” and the team would study the possibility of separating them.

In addition to being head of KSRelief, Al-Rabeeah is an internationally recognized pediatric surgeon who specializes in separating conjoined twins.

Doctors trying to treat the twins in Sanaa said Yemen’s health system could not keep them alive, and the parents are poor.

“They need to travel immediately. They will not be able to survive in Yemen under the social, political and economic circumstances,” Al-Balbali said.

The tiny boys, who are being helped to breathe in an incubator, have separate heads.

Within their shared torso they have separate spines, lungs, hearts and digestive systems, but they share a liver, reproductive organs and pair of kidneys, arms and legs.

“Even if one is unwell, the other is fine ... they are different in every aspect,” Dr. Al-Balbali  said. 

Doctors were unable to perform even basic diagnostic tests such as an MRI scan in Yemen, and certainly did not have the capabilities to separate them, he said.


Al-Jubeir meets UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Updated 26 April 2019
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Al-Jubeir meets UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

LONDON: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the British Foreign Office in London on Thursday.

The two sides held talks during which they reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and regional and international developments.

The meeting was attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber.

Al-Jubeir also met with Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt and a number of UK Parliament members at the Saudi Embassy in London.

Earlier, Hunt highlighted the strategic partnership between Britain and Saudi Arabia and said that it would help British efforts to end the war in Yemen. “The strategic relationship that the UK has with Saudi Arabia is what allows us to have a huge influence in bringing about peace in Yemen,” he said.