Tourism has many faces, and it’s not always about parties, culture, or human interaction, it can also change and save lives.

The best medical professionals in the world gave two 23-month-old Tanzanian boys the gift of life, courtesy of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had extended humanitarian hands to support Tanzanian-born conjoined twins through separation in the Kingdom’s specialized hospital as an implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman. A few days ago, a private jet transported the 23-month-old twins to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for additional care and separation at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital, a leading facility that offers the most difficult surgical procedures in contemporary medicine.

When the Hassan and Hussain twin boys arrived at King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital, their mother was with them. They travelled on a medical evacuation plane at the directive of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The head of the medical team, Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah overseeing the assessment of the Tanzanian conjoined twins, thanked the Saudi leadership for its support of the Saudi program to separate conjoined twins and general humanitarian work. The Tanzanian conjoined twins were born in Western Tanzania and then admitted to the Muhimbili National Hospital for almost two years before being granted humanitarian support from King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. 

They were admitted to the Tanzanian hospital just two weeks after their birth and have been undergoing treatment until last week when they were flown to Riyadh. After their arrival in Riyadh, the twins were transferred to King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital under the Ministry of National Guard to carry out the necessary medical checkups and examine the possibility of a successful surgical separation. 

Doctors at the Tanzanian hospital said that the twins are joined at the chest, abdomen, hip, large intestine, and rectum, making their surgery a complex one requiring enough expertise in various areas. Doctors from Tanzania and Saudi Arabia said that medical procedures to separate conjoined twins demand a large number of specialists, ranging from paediatric plastic surgeons, urologists, and nephrologists, among others.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRelief) undertakes treatment of conjoined twins, within the framework of the humanitarian role it plays in harnessing its efforts to manage and coordinate relief work and meet the expenses of their surgical separation. Advisor at the Royal Court, General Supervisor of KSRelief, and Head of the Medical Team, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, emphasized that these initiatives reflect the humaneness of Saudi Arabia, of which there are beneficiaries worldwide.

Saudi Arabia continues to remain at the top among the countries of the world in the number of operations carried out to separate conjoined twins. It is internationally recognized for performing successful conjoined twin surgeries over the past 40 years. 

Over the course of the past 32 years, since 1990, the Saudi Program for the Separation of Conjoined Twins has succeeded in conducting more than 50 surgical separations of conjoined twins. It is the third time that Tanzania’s conjoined twins have been separated in Saudi Arabia, with previous operations carried out in 2018 and 2021 through the Kingdom’s humanitarian support to save the lives of unprivileged children from several countries, mostly African states.

Saudi Arabia remains Tanzania’s key partner in tourism through annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage trips to pay their faithful prayers in various Holy Cities in the Kingdom. Rich in historical and religious antiquities, Saudi Arabia attracts pilgrims from Tanzania and Africa to visit the Kingdom’s preserved, religious, historical, and cultural heritage sites.