'Tree man' Abul Bajandar to get government-funded surgery

image source, AFP/Getty
image captionAbul Bajandar has epidermodysplasia verruciformi, a rare genetic disease that causes warts to form on the hands and feet

Bangladesh's government will pay for the treatment of "tree man" Abul Bajandar, who has a rare disease that causes warts to form on his body.

Health minister Mohammad Nasim made the announcement after visiting Mr Bajandar in hospital on Thursday.

Mr Bajandar has epidermodysplasia verruciformi, a genetic disease that makes a person susceptible to skin growth. It is popularly known as "tree man disease".

He first developed warts 10 years ago.

"Initially, I thought that they're harmless," Mr Bajandar told AFP.

"There are now dozens of two to three inch roots in both my hands. And there are some small ones in my legs," he said.

image source, AFP/Getty
image captionMr Bajandar had to rely on family members to help him eat

Mr Bajandar travelled to India to seek treatment, but his family could not afford the cost of operations.

Samples of his blood and skin tissue are now being sent to a laboratory in the United States, professor Abul Kalam, a plastic surgeon, told the BBC.

He will be treated in Bangladesh when his diagnosis reports are available.

Mr Bajandar's is one of only three cases of "tree man disease" in the world, Samanta Lal Sen, director at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, told AFP.

"It is the first time we have found such a rare case in Bangladesh," he said.

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