The Ministry of Islamic Affairs’ Zakat Fund has sponsored bone marrow transplants for 34 children with thalassemia, reports state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM).
The first ten children sponsored under the Zakat Fund departed for Sri Lanka and India with their donors on Thursday (March 12).
The bone marrow operation costs about MVR700,000 per patient, according to the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA).
NSPA CEO Mujthaba Jaleel said the first ten children were chosen based on a list provided by the Maldives Blood Service, adding that accommodation and food expenses would also be covered by the Zakat Fund.
He noted that the children would have to stay in sterilised facilities at the hospital for at least 30 days.
Eight children were sent to the Manipal Hospital in India and two children to the Asiri Central Hospital in Sri Lanka, Jaleel said.
NSPA hoped the second patch of thalassemia patients would be able to depart next month, he added.
First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim meanwhile met the ten children and their families at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport prior to their departure.
NSPA presented the first lady a plaque of appreciation for her contribution and support, whilst Madam Fathmath presented commemorative plaques to the children.