A Palestinian woman, Jamileh Zaghloul, was reunited with her baby yesterday, a month after she was forced to abandon him in Sidon’s streets after he fell sick and she was unable to pay for his treatment.
Living on the outskirts of the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian camp in Sidon, Zaghloul, 39, gave birth to her second son, Oussama, last month in her 5m2 corrugated iron shack.
Zaghloul’s husband, a Syrian, had taken her as his second wife promising to live with her. But he never did, nor did he send her financial support, even after she bore him two sons.
Her poverty-stricken neighbours managed to buy her three bottles of baby milk to compensate for Zaghloul’s inability to produce her own milk, which she blamed on malnutrition.
But Oussama reacted badly to the milk. His stomach swelled and his breathing became laboured. Zaghloul took the baby to the local hospital in the camp but was told that Oussama’s condition was dangerous and he had to be treated in a better-equipped hospital. Since she was married to a non-Palestinian, she wouldn’t benefit from Unrwa’s medical support.
With no money to treat the child, Zaghloul was forced to abandon her child on a Sidon boulevard, in the hope that a wealthier family would feed him and care for his health.
But an hour later, she changed her mind and returned to the boulevard to collect her baby, only to discover that he had disappeared. It was a month before she was informed that an infant
had been found on the street and admitted to Sidon’s government hospital.
The doctors agreed to let Zaghloul leave with the baby. Neighbours have donated eight bottles of milk to help her in her struggle to raise the child.