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Wednesday 13 November 2019

Girl (5) 'at grave risk if deported'

Breda Heffernan

A doctor has reacted furiously to the planned deportation to Nigeria today of a seriously ill five-year-old girl.

The little girl, called Idola, has sickle cell disease and had her spleen removed last year due to her illness. Without a spleen, she is highly susceptible to infections.

Dr Corina McMahon, consultant haematologist at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, said it is "highly likely she will die" if deported to Nigeria, a malaria zone.

Idola's mother, Neola, has been told to attend the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau on Burgh Quay in Dublin by 2pm today and she fears she and her daughter will be deported this evening.

"We know that in Africa, 50pc of children with sickle cell disease won't even live to see their fifth birthday and this child has no spleen and she's got bad sickle cell disease," said Dr McMahon.

"She has just gone home from hospital and she was admitted to us five times last year with bad sickle cell disease," she told RTE's 'Liveline'.

Dr McMahon said that because Idola has only been discharged from hospital, she should not undertake any air travel for up to a month.


Neola told the show that her daughter is still feeling weak and she is worried about her health if forced to return to Nigeria.

"For myself I have no problem, but any time I look at my daughter and I look at her and tell myself: 'Oh my god, this girl is going back to Nigeria' . . . She has no spleen.

"Even before we came here, with a spleen, it was difficult for her fighting malaria back home. Now, without a spleen, how is she going to fight it?"

Irish Independent

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