Mum's forced 5-month separation from tiny baby ends at border

Mum's forced 5-month separation from tiny baby ends at border

Nurahaleesa Jeh-awae, 18, second right, with health officials, one holding her baby, at the Sadao border crossing in Songkhla province on Thursday morning. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)
Nurahaleesa Jeh-awae, 18, second right, with health officials, one holding her baby, at the Sadao border crossing in Songkhla province on Thursday morning. (Photo: Abdullah Benjakat)

SONGKHLA: A young mother's worrying wait for the newborn child she was forced to leave in Malaysia ended on Thursday, five months after the closure of the border because of the coronavirus pandemic left her stranded in Thailand while on a visa run.

Nurahaleesa Jeh-awae, 18, was joyfully reunited with her six-month-old son at the Sadao district border crossing of Songkhla province.

According to the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), Ms Nurahaleesa worked at a Tom Yum Kung restaurant in Malaysia and gave premature birth at Kajang Hospital in Selangor State of Malaysia on Feb 27.

On March 17 she returned to Sadao so she could extend her visa, and was unable to go back to Malaysia as planned because the border was closed the following day in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Separated from her baby, she sought assistance from the government.

Kanokrat Kueakit, assistant secretary-general of SBPAC, said medical personnel in Malaysia carried the baby from the hospital on Wednesday night on an eight-hour trip to the border. The child and mother would be quarantined in a special room at Pattani Hospital for 14 days.

Before the baby could leave, the Thai embassy in Malaysia paid the bill at the hospital where the baby was born. The boy weighed only 1.1 kilogrammes at birth and required special care.

An elated Ms Nurahaleesa said reunion would not have been possible without the kind donations that enabled her to meet the hospital bill of about 240,000 baht.

The SBPAC contributed 50,000 baht, and family, friends and public donors helped with the rest.

She said her baby now weighed a healthy 3.6kg.


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