• Bangladeshi father Abul Bajandar, who was known as the "tree man" because of a rare skin condition, has had surgery to remove the growths. (Barcroft Media/Getty Images)
"I can now hold my daughter," says the Bangladeshi father, who had 5kg of growths removed from his hands and feet.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

9 Jan 2017 - 12:56 PM  UPDATED 9 Jan 2017 - 4:07 PM

A Bangladeshi father referred to as the "tree man" because of the bark-like warts on his hands and feet is once again able to hold his daughter following recent groundbreaking operations to remove five kilograms of growths.

Abul Bajandar has a rare skin condition called epidermodysplasia verruciformis and has suffered from the painful condition for years, which forced him to stop working.

The 27-year-old former rickshaw driver, who comes from the southern coastal district of Khulna, is one of only four people in the world to be diagnosed with the genetic condition.

His story came to the attention of doctors at Dhaka Medical College Hospital last year thanks to media coverage, who offered to treat him free of charge.

"We operated on him at least 16 times to remove the warts," Samanta Lal Sen, a plastic surgery coordinator at the hospital, told AFP.

"The hands and feet are now almost fine. He will be discharged within the next 30 days after a couple of minor surgeries to perfect the shape of his hands."

Sen believes that as long as the warts do not grow back, Bajandar could be the first person to be cured of the disease, which claimed the life of an Indonesian man in 2016: "Bajandar's cure was a remarkable milestone in the history of medical science."  

Bajandar, his wife Halima Khatun and their three-year-old daughter Tahira have lived at the hospital for nearly a year while he has been undergoing treatment.  

“I never thought I would ever be able to hold my kid with my hands,” Bajandar told the AFP news agency from his hospital bed. “Now I feel so much better. I can hold my daughter in my lap and play with her. I can’t wait to go back home.”

Following the publicity about his plight, Bajandar received donations from people around the world who wanted to help him. 

Now that he is able to work again, he plans to set up a small business with the money people sent.

"I was so worried about raising my daughter," he said. "I hope the curse won't return again." 

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