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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Disabled Kenyan baby granted visa
Geoff Adams-Spink
BBC News website disability affairs correspondent

Photo of Freddie
Freddie was born severely disabled but the cause is not known
A disabled Kenyan boy has been given a visa to visit the UK for medical tests, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Fourteen-month-old Freddie Musean Mtile, who has no arms or legs, was initially refused entry to the UK.

Officials say he was given permission to enter Britain after the correct paperwork was supplied.

But campaign group Thalidomide UK, which announced the news earlier, says the change of heart is the result of the publicity surrounding the case.

Freddie Astbury, Thalidomide UK's president, said: "We were informed by the Foreign Office this morning that little Freddie finally has a visa."

The child's adoptive British mother, Dee Knott-Mtile said the news was "absolutely fantastic".

It's going to help Freddie so much - nobody realises how serious this is
Dee Knott-Mtile
Freddie's adoptive mother

"It's the day that we've all been waiting for," she told the BBC News website.

"It's going to help Freddie so much - nobody realises how serious this is."

Now that the family has the go ahead to bring the child to the UK, he is expected to arrive in a few days' time.

He is expected to undergo medical tests as soon as possible to find out whether he has any internal damage in addition to his visible disabilities.

Although it is not clear why he was born without limbs, the drug, Thalidomide, is strongly suspected to be the cause.

Thalidomide was banned in the UK in 1961 - following the birth of a number of disabled children - but is still used in some developing countries to treat conditions like leprosy.

Freddie's biological mother has admitted taking some medication while she was pregnant, but she is unsure exactly what it was.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Freddy Knott-Mtile, who was born with severe limb damade



SEE ALSO:
Thalidomide: 40 years on
07 Jun 02 |  UK News


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