A strange medical condition that affects organ formation before birth, has left a one-year-old girl in Niger State without an anus, leaving her to rid herself of waste through the vagina, while her poor parents struggle for more than a year to get funds for a corrective operation.
Like all childbirths, Amina Ibrahim, heaved a sigh of relief when her daughter, Fatima, was born. Not that she had a traumatic pregnancy; but as all pregnancies are fraught with uncertainties, successfully delivering a seemingly healthy child was a mirthful event.
But her face soon clouded over with gloom after it became clear the new born baby had no anus, and to her horror, excreted both liquid and solid wastes through the vagina.
A year ago, the parents reported the child at Federal Medical Centre, Bida, where they were told she would undergo a three-pronged operation. As of date, they are still searching for N1.2 million needed to correct the defect.
Fatima’s problem began during conception, during the first trimester, when organs form and differentiate, according to experts. During this stage, the anus just didn’t form at all, a condition medically called imperforate anus.
A mother’s effort
When Amina, accompanied by a younger brother, recently narrated the family’s ordeal to reporters, she said her hope only lies in having the public hear their story.
“I just want you people to help me,” she repeatedly said, kneeling, with Fatima strapped to her back. Her husband also called in later.
The child stank from faecal odour, largely because the vagina, unlike the rectum (anus), has no sphincter, so fluid or semi-solid waste from the colon finds frequent and unrestrained exit, a situation medically referred to as faecal incontinence.
Under normal conditions, waste retention is possible as the anal passage is equipped with sphincter muscle, which can be exercised to control waste expulsion. But with Fatima, whatever she eats goes out as soon as it was digested.
One year after her birth, Fatima has not been introduced to solid food; she lives exclusively on breast milk and syrups. The medical doctors at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida warned the mother not to introduce solid food yet, which may present some difficulty for waste evacuation.
Since they first reported the matter at the Federal Medical Centre, Bida, the parents said they have spent as much as N200, 000, contributed by relatives who themselves are poor. However, the sum of N1.2million still stands in the way of Fatima accessing medical intervention.
Note: Individuals or organisations wishing to assist Fatima should call the following lines for details: 07057445815, 08092926098 or 08057271047.