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City of Banjul
Sunday, September 20, 2020


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Time has been running out for Musa Gibba as he struggled to find a matching donor for a transplant to keep him alive.  As reported, his younger brother Malick proved the perfect match and he was ready to travel nearly 3,500 miles from The Gambia to Southampton to donate one of his organs. 

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But hopes were dashed when immigration bosses denied Malick permission to temporarily enter the country from west Africa for the critical operation.  Now, following an appeal and after Musa’s plight was highlighted in the Daily Echo newspaper, the Home Office changed its mind and granted Malick permission to go to the UK.  The pair will be reunited this month before the operation takes place.  

Speaking just days before his 35th birthday, Musa, thanked the newspaper for its part in highlighting his ordeal. The dad-of-one said: “I think that is the reason why this has happened – they have seen it and realised it. I’m so relieved and pleased this day is finally here. I’m really looking forward to him coming over. The last few years have been a nightmare, but hopefully now [the donation] will be going through and life can be much better.” 

Musa’s illness began in 2009, two years after arriving in Hampshire from The Gambia in 2007 to work in Eastleigh. The mechanic was diagnosed with kidney failure by specialists at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. His fragile state has stopped him working since 2010 and he now requires regular four-hour hospital dialysis sessions three days a week. 

Worst of all his ebbing energy levels have left him too exhausted to enjoy outings with his four-year-old daughter, who lives with his wife in Eastleigh, from whom he is separated. But last May, with time running out, Malick, 26, one of his two siblings, was confirmed as a donor. 

Gambian hospitals are unable to carry out the procedure, so he applied for a six-month permit to enter Britain for the operation on the NHS. 

This aimed to cover time for post-surgery care and check-ups unavailable back in Africa. But Immigration Office ruled there was not enough proof he would be staying temporarily – despite Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust supporting his application. 

Now, following the Home Office U-turn, Malick is all set to arrive later this month. Doctors will carry out tests in preparation for the operation, which is expected to take place later this year. 

A Home Office spokesman said: “All applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with immigration rules. Mr Gibba’s original application was refused because he failed to provide evidence to demonstrate he met the criteria of those rules. He was subsequently granted leave to enter after submitting additional supporting information.”


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