British hospitals provide vital surgery

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Doctors today begin treating three Bosnian children who have been brought to Britain for emergency treatment. The children, who suffer serious illnesses and congenital defects, will spend up to three months at Sheffield Children's Hospital. They arrived on Saturday with their parents.

"These problems don't have the immediate emotional impact of a child with shrapnel wounds, but they are all serious problems which, if not dealt with, could be very dangerous," said Dr Michael Plunkett of Child Advocacy who, together with the the UNHCR, brought the children to Britain.

"But unlike shrapnel wounds, these injuries won't heal without surgery. And it's not available in Bosnia," he said.

One of the children, 10-year-old Muamer, is in constant pain from a rod in his spine that was fitted four years ago. It was supposed to be removed a year later, but the war prevented him from travelling to specialists in Belgrade. Another child, nine-month-old Amina, suffers from bilateral cataracts. She has a little sight left, but if the cataracts are not removed soon, she will be blind. Nikolina, six, the third child, was born with her bladder opening on to her stomach, causing recurrent kidney infections. She requires extensive operations to enable her to live a normal life.