Malawian teenage woman gives birth to conjoined twins

An 18-year-old woman last Friday gave birth to conjoined twins, barely two months after another, a 28-year-old from Thyolo, also delivered Siamese twins.

The young woman, whose particulars doctors are yet to disclose but hails from Katenje village, TA Khongoni in Lilongwe district, gave birth to the twins at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH).

The two babies, who are currently at KCH’s Ethel Mutharika Maternity wing, were born joined at the abdomen and share part of the intestines, neck and head, according to Hospital Director, Noor Alide.

The doctor said the young mother, who got married last year and this was the first pregnancy, did not know about her sons’ condition because throughout her pregnancy she never had any ultrasound scans.

Cojoined twins
Cojoined twins

However, fears are growing for the twins as KCH is facing major operational difficulties, a symptomatic of Malawi’s crumbling public infrastructure.Alide said the hospital facility was expected to only examine the twins to determine whether an operation could be conducted outside the country because KCH has no capacity to carry it out.

He said what needed to be done was to refer the babies to another hospital outside Malawi where the operation could be carried out.

“Currently, we do not have that capacity. However, Malawi as a country is running a referral system which gives each and every Malawian a chance to access case which is appropriate to him or her.

“A patient who was supposed to get treatment at the central hospital but we are not able to provide that, he or she is externally referred to get care from abroad. This time we are sending patients to India and most of times to South Africa,”said Dr Alide.

He said once they identify the problem after the examination which they were expected to carry out, a consultant will decide where to send the twins for proper operation.

Meanwhile, the mother of the teen woman, identified as Catherine, has made a tearful appeal for prayers to help her conjoined grandsons.

According to published reports, so rare are conjoined twins that their occurrence is estimated to range from 1 in 50,000 births to 1 in 200,000 births and the overall survival rate for conjoined twins is approximately one in four.

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