In Nigeria, specialist doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, have separated two children who were born joined around the abdomen as Siamese twins.
The twins who are both girls and now aged eight months, were born at the Nembe General Hospital in Bayelsa State on December 12, 2019 and were immediately referred to the FMC Yenagoa where they were, in turn, referred to the FMC Yola.
The twins had been flown by the Nigeria Air Force to Yola in January this year but the surgery to remove them was not done till earlier this month.
The FMC Yola Medical Director, Prof Auwal Abubakar, who spoke to newsmen on Saturday during a farewell for the twins and their parents, said the surgery was finally done on August 10.
“We were getting set to do the surgery when COVID-19 came. It was a new disease and we were learning to cope with it. Many services at the hospital were suspended and even to get certain consumables was difficult…
“The separation was done on the 10th of August and there was no problem at all. We discharged them from intensive care on the third day. They are fully okay,” said Prof Auwal who led the team for the surgery.
He said it took only three hours for a 48-member team comprising specialist surgeons, anesthetics consultants, nurses, technicians, among others, to do the surgery.
“Aided by experience and sophisticated machines, some recently donated by the Nigeria Liquefied Gas Ltd (LNG), we successfully completed the process in just three hours,” he said.
The newly-separated twins are named Grace and Mercy respectively. Their mother, 25-year-old Mrs Ayebaekipreye Ebi, told newsmen that the twins were born through cesarean section and that the complexity of their birth shattered her and her husband, Ralph Raphael, 27.
“My immediate reaction was ‘why me’ and I passed out and remained unconscious for three days,” Mrs Ralph said.
She expressed the gratitude of her family to the FMC Yola for keeping and feeding them these past eight months that they had been on admission and for the August 10 surgery, all done for free.