One Of Separated Conjoined Twins At UITH Dead – Surgeon Reveals

Professor Lukman Olajide Abdur-Raheem, the leader of the 66-person surgical team at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) that successfully operated on the separation of conjoined twins in January 2021, has disclosed that the UITH has lost one of the separated conjoined twins due to adhesive intestinal obstruction just two weeks before her second birthday.

The university don made the disclosure in Ilorin at the weekend while delivering its 222nd Inaugural lecture with the theme “Shades of Joy and Cry: Intricacies of Children’s Surgery for Restoring Smile and Hope for the Future”.

Prof. Abdur-Raheem narrated that the twin sister “is hale and hearty and is among the mammoth crowd with her mother, as audience at the university auditorium, venue of the lecture”.

The management of the UITH on January 14, 2021 had presented the set of female twins, alive, to the public after doctors successfully separated them.

It was reported at the time that the feat was despite the dearth of equipment at the hospital.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UITH, Prof. Abdullah Dasilva Yussuf, who briefed the press on the occasion attributed the accomplishment to the commitment and determination of the team.

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However, the leader of the team who performed the feat explained that, “the  conjoined twins are rare anomalies resulting from an abnormal division of fertilised ovum during the process of twinning”.

Conjoined twins, he said, have intricate parts that are shared in unique manner from the head to the toes and require thorough investigations to determine anatomic and physiologic implications of separation of the shared parts.

He added that, “About 19 pairs of conjoined twins were reported to have been born alive or dead in Nigeria in the last nine decades, from which the UITH, Ilorin had managed three pairs between 2005 to 2015, even under fragile conditions.

“In our setting,, we adopted adult investigative and therapeutic equipment for optimal outcomes since many children equipment are not available”.

The success with the celebrated first successful separation of conjoined twins in llorin in January 2021, according to him, resulted from the cohesive 66-man multi-disciplinary collaborative team under his leadership.

“The application of simulation skills in the clinical scenarios, he said, was presented and highly commended at the 2021 Bethune Round Table conference in Canada”.

Prof Abdur-Raheem who reeled out the burden of paediatry surgical diseases, including birth defects, neonatal surgery, congenital anomalies and their effects on the physical, mental, financial and social status of children and parents asserts that in Nigeria, the estimated incidence of birth defects varies between 2.5 and 11.5 per 1,000 live births in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

He also noted that the Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) is still high at 26.6 per cent, attributing this factor to lack of access to surgery which includes the significant shortage workforce.

He revealed that, “Globally, 1.7 billion children do not have access to safe, affordable and timely surgical care, with the sub-Saharan Africa bearing the largest burden because up to 50 per cent of the population are children”.

He therefore advised the Federal Government to step up paediatric surgical care awareness at the primary health care level, so that the conditions are identified early and appropriate counsel are provided to caregivers.

He also called for all existing children hospital to be upgraded so as to have complimentary well equipped and staffed Paediatric surgical services at the state and federal levels.

He  appealed to all tiers of government to make Laparoscopy, known as keyhole surgery, accessible and affordable to indigent Nigerians.