Coronavirus: Liberian woman, toddler son stuck in Kerala hospital as lockdown derails plans to return home

Sitting in a hospital room, Jenneh Paye is hoping that she and her two-and-a-half-year-old son would be able to join their family in Liberia, thousands of miles away from this South Indian port city, very soon.

Unable to fly back to their country due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the 26-year-old mother and her son Jin have been staying in the private Lisie Hospital for over two months since he recovered from a serious heart ailment following surgery.

They are hoping that the Indian government would extend a helping hand to enable their return home.

A hospital spokesman said Jin, who had been suffering from severe heart ailment since birth, was admitted to the hospital in the first week of March after being referred from a hospital at Monrovia for better medical care.

He underwent an open heart surgery on March 12. Relieved over the improvement in Jin’s health following the surgery, Jenneh was preparing to go back to Liberia on April 2 but the lockdown derailed their plan.

The spokesman said the boy was brought to Kerala for treatment after taking a loan pledging their property back home and now they are under financial stress due to the delay in their return trip.

It was on March 2 that Jenneh reached Kerala from Liberia along with her son for treatment of his heart condition.

Jin is the second child born to Peter and Jenneh and was diagnosed to have a hole in the heart within a few months.

He was not gaining weight adequately and he used to get recurrent respiratory infections and Jenneh knew he needed to undergo cardiac surgery for a complete recovery.

Peter and Jenneh managed to collect enough money to travel to India and get Jin operated though it meant working overtime, mortgaging their family house and giving up much other leisure in life.

“All went well according to plan when they came to Kochi. The aorto-pulmonary window in his heart was closed and the family’s happiness knew no bounds when he had an uneventful recovery after the surgery.

All they wanted now was to travel back home…but then came the pandemic scare, travel restrictions and lockdown shattering all their dreams.

Jenneh and Jin could not travel back home as planned on April 2 and they are unsure when they can,” he said.

The little resources they had with them was planned for a month’s stay and recovery and is drained completely, he said.

According to him,they are now being supported by the management of Lisie Hospital, which is taking care of their food and shelter along with some help from the Liberian Consulate and a few philanthropists.

In a video message released to the media, Jenneh appealed to the Indian government to facilitate their return home.

“I am Jenneh, I came from Liberia for my son’s surgery.Now his surgery is over…we are being here for too long.

So we appeal to the government of India to please arrange means for us to go back home,” she said.

Her husband, Peter, currently in Liberia, also sent a video message requesting the Indian government to facilitate their return trip.

“I am hoping that in few days government of India with good people will be able to bring my family back to Liberia,” he said.

Peter also thanked the hospital authorities for providing good medical care to his son and safe stay of his family in Kochi.

The hospital spokesman said Jin is fully cured and his follow-up medical examination, if needed, can be done in Liberian hospitals.

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