A 19-year-old mother of conjoined twins is stranded at Hoima regional referral hospital, after the father of the children rejected them. Machrine Mwesige says that after breaking the news to the father of the twins, 20-year-old Collin Atuhairwe, he rejected them saying he could not be a father to deformed children.
Machrine Mwesige, a student at Kabalega Royal Institute in Hoima town and a resident of Kabajwekera village in Nalweyo Sub-County in Kibaale district, gave birth to conjoined twins on Wednesday morning at Hoima Hospital. She was referred to the hospital from Nalweyo Health Centre in Kibaale district after experiencing obstructed labour.
She delivered by caesarian section and was referred to Mulago national referral Hospital in Kampala to have the conjoined twins separated. Despite her immediate referral yesterday, however, the first-time mother is yet to make it to Mulago. She told URN that she could not easily raise the money to go to Mulago Hospital.
The tailoring student says that the father of the twins, 20-year-old Collin Atuhairwe, who is a Senior Four Student at Buhimba Secondary School, has never appeared at the hospital. She reveals that after breaking the news of the delivery on phone to the father, he rejected the children, saying he could not be a father to deformed children. Efforts by this reporter to talk to him were fruitless as he could not pick up his calls.
With tears rolling down her face, Mwesige said her mother, Alice Kisembo, a peasant farmer could not raise the money and all she asked for is help from well-wishers to fundraise for her. Her father died five years ago. Kisembo expresses shock that her son-in-law had rejected the babies, yet all along she knew him as a husband to her daughter.
Doctor Tom Edium, a senior Pediatrician at Hoima Hospital describes the babies' condition and that of the mother as stable, but doubts the survival of the second baby, saying he's so deformed. They are now placed in an incubator. Edium says they are being fed on 10 percent glucose administered through the tube, as they wait for the mother to produce milk by the end of the day.
The doctor explains that since the mother is weak, she won't be allowed to breastfeed the babies directly. He says the milk will be extracted and given to the babies through the breastfeeding tube.
Edium meanwhile maintains the hospital has no capacity to separate the twins.
The conjoined twins weigh 4.8kgs and share the same abdomen. He explains that one of the babies has one leg and a tiny head, a split mouth with a cleft lip and a cleft pallet.
According to Dr Edium the babies' genitalia are not clear so they can't tell whether they are male or female.
Medical experts say cases of Siamese twins are usually as a result of failure by the embryos to separate as they develop.
Although Dr Edium says it's the first case of the kind since he joined the hospital 10 years ago, such cases have occurred in Soroti, Arua and Kabale districts.
Last month, another 19-year-old woman in Soroti district gave birth to conjoined twins. The twins, both girls, also arrived after a caesarean operation. Their parents, Esther Akello and her husband Charles Oriokot, are peasants from Omulala in Asuret sub-county, Soroti district. This was Akello's first delivery.
Dr. Emmanuel Batiibwe, the director Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, told reporters that the twins were conjoined from the waist with each facing the opposite direction. He added that the twins could be sharing the umbilical cord.
In April 2011, a set of conjoined twins was born at Ngora Hospital in Ngora district. The twin girls, Apio and Adong, from Omaditok village shared one heart and liver but were separate at the head and from the pelvic bone downwards. Their mother, 19-year-old Agnes Anyait, died shortly after giving birth.
The twins died nine months later as doctors were still monitoring their growth before undergoing an operation. Dr. Birabwa Male Doreen, a clinical surgeon at the hospital then told URN that the twins needed 12kgs combined weight for an operation to be carried out.
In June 2011, yet another set of conjoined twins was born in Kabale district. Trevor and Timothy Bainomugisha are now living normal lives after being successfully separated at five months. The operation was conducted by a team of doctors in Cairo, Egypt.