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A widowed mother is still waiting for her babies' life-changing surgery
APAIR of conjoined twins, who are joined at the head, have defied the odds and celebrated their first birthday, but their widowed mother is still waiting for a miracle to happen so that her twins can be surgically separated.
Zainab Bibi (36) gave birth to Safa and Marva at a hospital in Pakistan in January 2017. The infants are fused at their heads, a phenomenon known as craniopagus twins, which occurs just once in every 2.5 million births.
Despite being joint together by the tip of their skulls, a range of scans have since shown that they have separate brains. However, the uncertainty over the surgery has left the poverty-stricken family in chaos.
Zainab, who lost her husband 10 days before giving birth to the twins, says, “It’s getting tougher to take care of them day by day. They cannot move, whereas children their age can sit and crawl.” The mother of seven says the increase in their weight has made it difficult for her to carry them and she doesn’t know what to do in future.
“Although there are no medical difficulties at present, I am afraid for their future. I’m afraid my daughters will have to live a miserable life if they are not separated before it’s too late,” she says.
ASKING FOR HELP
Since their birth, the family claims several people, including members of the Pakistan government, promised them help but to no vail. Their maternal grandfather, Muhammad Sadiq, says, “Since the birth of Safa and Marwa, a lot of people promised us that they will sponsor their treatment. Some members of government even told us that they will send them abroad if surgery for such a condition cannot be performed in Pakistan.” A medical board was constituted at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad to come up with a plan for an operation. “We stayed there for several months, but nothing happened. We were told the surgery cannot be performed there,” says Muhammad. However, Zainab is hopeful of their bright future if the Pakistan government comes forward to help. “I demand the Pakistan government t to come forward and help my poor daughters. If treatment for such a condition is not possible in Pakistan, I request the government to take my daughters to any foreign country where such cases have been successfully operated.”
Around 40 per cent of these kind of twins are stillborn. Of those who survive, a third die within 24 hours of birth.
If the twins survive to that point, there is an 80 per cent risk they will die before the age of two if they are not separated.
I AM AFRAID FOR THEIR FUTURE
Safa and Marva Bibi are conjoined at the head and waiting to have surgery to separate them