Keeping Malawi siamese twins put of political spectrum

By Ochewa Mtimauwawa

Daily Times Newspaper of January 22, 2013 carried on its front page a pictorial story of a mother, Tereza Jailosi, of Thyolo who has given birth to Siamese twins. The article quotes her appealing to well-wishers and government to intervene so that the babies can be separated through medical operation.

Though the story came 40 days after their birth, it has carried with it enormous significance on the social media as people commenced a heated lobby campaign for government to treat the matter urgently.

The lobby aside and not counting the human interest aspect, the newspaper story has justifiably not furnished the nation with medical details surrounding such a case thus most of the worries and the noise is emanating from uninformed angle.

We need to understand that any mother would sound caution if her baby was in an abnormal situation like this one.conjoined-twins

So Tereza Jailosi’s plea should not be interpreted as if government is not doing enough to ensure good health of the twins and their subsequent separation procedures. She is simply asking people to make sure they stay on course to ensure the safety of her babies.

The story indicates that the mother asked to be discharged because life in the hospital ward was becoming costly. However, in the absence of any information from hospital authorities, this does not mean that she was discharged as a follow up to her request. I believe the doctors made their own assessment on the case and found the act in line with safeguarding the lives of the twins.

For fellow Malawians, it is better to understand the case before calling for the repatriation of the twins a health facility outside the country.

Medical estimates indicate that Siamese twins are very rare and they occur once in every 200,000 pregnancies.

It is reported that the overall survival rate of conjoined twins is between 5 and 25 percent. This must tell us that separating these twins is not going to be a one-go scenario. It needs proper medical supervision and instruction.

It is already a miracle that these twins are alive and as a nation we must treat the matter delicately by leaving the experts to do their work.

Though it might be true that the twins cannot be separated here in Malawi by a Malawian surgeon, we have to hold our breaths because our medical personnel will still play a great role in ensuring the twins’ good health.

Procedurally, doctors are supposed to use mechanisms such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and angiography to find out what organs the twins share. This helps them to determine how feasible it is for the separation process to be smooth.

Thereafter, complications may also arise because any slight misjudgment will lead to either one or both lives. That is the last thing we want to see happening; the twins must be separated and live happily thereafter.

With the points above it is wrong for people to politicize an honest issue like this one by pointing out at people and institutions that don’t necessarily bear the blame.

Some quarters have pointed a finger at President Joyce Banda saying her government is not doing enough while others have directed disregard at Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader, Peter Mutharika, saying he must intervene because the twins are from Thyolo District where he comes from.

I find this kind of thinking as irrelevant and misplaced.

Raising an alarm that our  twins will not live if they spend one more day in Thyolo or in Malawi, is propagating a lie that defies medical logic.

The twins are a blessing and we must keep them in our prayers and provide enough material for the parents to afford taking care of them capably. The last thing we have to do is drag politics in all this; it will take us nowhere.

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