On July 24, the Times of Oman had sought its readers’ opinion on the condition of an expatriate worker who was short of fund and without health coverage, and admitted to a hospital with acute illness.
The person was Md. Nazmul Haque, a blue-collar worker from Bangladesh, whose fate was featured in the report, “Stroke-hit expat fights odds in Oman’s ICU.”
While some donated small amounts directly at the hospital and at the embassy office, one Kashmiri Indian, who refused to be identified, surprised everyone, and paid thousands of rials at the hospital to clear Nazmul’s bills.
“The Almighty has entrusted me with a job to help the needy. I follow His words. I am doing my best to do that,” the Kashmiri Indian, who was even reluctant to talk about his deed any further, told the Times of Oman.
On July 1, while performing evening prayers, Nazmul just collapsed following a brain stroke. He was rushed to Badr Al Samaa hospital in Ruwi by some of his friends.
“When he was brought here, he was losing consciousness. We did everything possible to help him. Timely action saved his life, but he lost his power of speech and his right side became paralysed. As nobody came forward to clear the bills and take up the responsibility, he continued to stay put here.
“It was after the Times of Oman published his story that people came to know about Nazmul’s condition and started helping him,” KO Devassy, Group Marketing Manager at Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals, told this newspaper.
“After Nazmul was admitted, his labour card also expired. So, things became complicated. But the embassy officials have assured that they will sort out those issues,” Devassy added.
The hospital also waived off a significant part of Nazmul’s bills.
Nazmul, who was on a ‘free visa’ status, was somehow managing to find menial jobs in and around Ruwi.
He was staying in a shared accommodation and was only able to earn around OMR90 after all the hard work.
“Nazmul used to send a major part of the money to his family. He has four children and a wife. He is the sole bread winner for them. So, when we hospitalised him, we realised that he had not saved a single rial for emergency,” his friends said.
In between, Nazmul’s story in the Times of Oman alerted the Bangladeshi officials in Dhaka also.
After reading the story, Marina Sultana, a social worker in Bangladesh, wrote to the Times of Oman that they were working with the government officials in Dhaka to expedite arrangements for Nazmul’s return.
“I heard that officials in Dhaka are speeding up the process. The Times of Oman story paved the way for that,” Md. Sanaullah, a Bangladeshi social worker in Oman, said.
“After the story was published, many people came forward to help Nazmul. One jewellery group paid a decent amount to clear Nazmul’s bills,” Sanaullah said.
Meanwhile, embassy officials are speeding up the procedures to sent back Nazmul on a stretcher seat as soon as possible.
“We are clearing his papers. In a few days, he will be able to fly back,” an official at the Bangladeshi embassy in Muscat said.