Ever since he underwent angioplasty for his heart ailment in 2009, Shaji Rhagavan had been taking his medicines daily.

Close up photo of a man in a dark blue shirt
news Health Thursday, May 21, 2020 - 17:31

Shaji Rhagavan, a native of Thiruvananthapuram, had been working at a fuel marketing company in Kuwait as a maintenance foreman for the past several years. Ever since he underwent angioplasty for his heart ailment in 2009, he had been taking his medicines daily without fail, as directed by his consulting doctor. But, he stopped taking the four prescribed medicines for the last 21 days.

Shaji has been getting his medicines from Kerala for over a decade, as they are not available in Kuwait. Though the medicines were shipped from Kerala, on an emergency basis, earlier this month, Shaji is yet to receive it, as the consignment is stuck at the Kuwait airport due to the lockdown.

"I underwent angioplasty at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College in 2009. Though I returned to Kuwait following this, my doctor advised me to continue the medicines every day, without fail. All these years, my friends used to bring the medicines when they return to Kuwait after their holiday in Kerala,” he told TNM over the phone from Farwaniya in Kuwait.

Since all flights have been suspended, Shaji’s family in Kerala couriered the consignment of medicines to Kuwait on May 6 through DHL. “Though the courier company said that I will get the package in five days, it has been about two weeks now. With a 24x7 on-call work, I am managing without my medicines," Shaji, who lives alone in Kuwait.  

With the family back in Kerala and him living alone in the foreign country under lockdown, Shaji is desperately seeking help.

Officials of DHL, which shipped the consignment, denied assuring Shaji that the medicines will reach him within five days.

"Normally, it would take at least seven days, and under no circumstances will we give a specific time frame. When we enquired about this, we learnt that the consignment underwent customs check at the Kuwait International Airport. The consignment has been cleared but since the country is in lockdown, movement of vehicles is not possible. We are trying to figure out what can be done," a DHL official in Kerala told TNM.

He also added that when the medicines were shipped, the lockdown was not imposed in Kuwait. On May 8, the Kuwaiti government announced a full curfew till May 30. Until then, the country was under partial curfew.

Meanwhile, Shaji continues to seek help. "It's because of these medicines that I was going on with my work safely. Now I am scared. Since I am a heart patient, I cannot walk into a hospital. I wish somebody would help me get access to these medicines," he said.