A team of doctors in Nigeria has successfully separated one-year-old conjoined twins at the National hospital Abuja.
The Lead surgeon, Prof Emmanuel Ameh, a Chief Consultant Pediatric Surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria told newsmen that the operation to separate Goodness and Mercy Martins at the chest and abdomen took place in November and the two sisters were now well enough to go home.
He said the operation, which cost about $55,000 (£42,000), was complicated and lasted for about 12 hours. It involved 78 doctors working in two groups.
Who is prof Emmanuel Ameh
Dr Emmanuel Ameh, MBBS, FWACS, FACS is Professor of Surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon to the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria, Nigeria. Over the years, Dr. Ameh has been actively involved in the development of educational programs and training activities of the West African College Of Surgeons, Association Of Paediatric Surgeons of Nigeria, and Pan African Paediatric Surgical Association.
He has been at the forefront of advocacy to elevate the profile of surgery, surgical education, and surgical specialties, including pediatric surgery in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. He has published widely on various aspects of paediatric surgery, general surgery, and surgical education, and has also edited three books and written several book chapters on aspects of surgical care of children.
Dr. Ameh is a former Chief Of Paediatric Surgery at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital in Zaria and Director For Clinical Services at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital. His interests are in surgical education and training, as well as clinical pediatric surgery.
The operation was free
Despite the high cost of the operation, the medics at National Hospital Abuja did not charge for their work because the twins’ parents – Michael Edeh and Maria Onya Martins – could not afford the medical bills.
They rely on Mr. Martins’ earnings as a painter to get by. The couple had first brought their daughters to hospital in Abuja, in August 2018 just after their birth But the doctors couldn’t operate on them immediately as they were not well enough.
They were cared for at the government-owned hospital for the next 15 months and their strength built up over time. The green light was then given for the operation. The hospital has separated about 11 conjoined twins over the last 20 years, but in those cases, all the twins had been joined at the abdomen.
The hospital’s medical director, Jaff Momoh, said this case stood out as it was the first time an operation had involved the lower chest wall, liver and diaphragm.
Mr Martins said he was so happy to see his daughters alive and well – and the family were looking forward to returning home.
His wife said words were not enough to thank the team of doctors and the kindness of the hospital staff. She said she had felt heartbroken when the babies were born, but now she was all smiles.
The minister of health has visited the hospital to praise the efforts of the medics and meet the family. The Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, while commending the medical team, assured the parents of automatic employment for the unemployed mother in the Federal Civil Service.