By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

SUCCESSFUL OPERATION. Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah (4th from right) with the separated twin sisters Ayeesha and Akhizah and members of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre in this undated photo. Ayeesha and Akhizah arrived in Riyadh on May 5 and subsequently underwent a comprehensive assessment prior to their surgery. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh)

MANILA – Filipino conjoined twin sisters Ayeesha and Akhizah Yusoph were successfully separated through a surgery facilitated by the Saudi Arabian government.

The procedure was performed by pediatric surgeon Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah last June 6 at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief).

In a release dated June 11, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian program, which also separated Filipino conjoined twins Ann and Mae in 2004.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud earlier issued a royal decree, giving his approval to operate on Akhizah and Ayeesha.

Ayeesha and Akhizah arrived in Riyadh on May 5 and subsequently underwent a comprehensive assessment before their scheduled surgery.

All services and procedures as well as the transportation, accommodation, and hospitality for their relatives during the treatment period were funded by the Saudi Arabian government.

The Saudi Conjoined Twins Separation Program has been facilitating the successful separation of over 130 children from 25 different countries since 1990.

In a previous statement, the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Manila said the procedure highlights the medical capabilities of the Kingdom, as a pioneer in the field of separating conjoined twins.

“Its medical successes extend beyond the realm of separating conjoined twins to include combating advanced treatments. These achievements highlight the Kingdom’s future vision for healthcare, where it attracts attention from seekers of excellent deadly diseases and developing treatment and superior healthcare,” it said.

This gesture comes within the framework of what the Embassy describes as “distinguished bilateral relations” between the two countries across all fields. (PNA)