The birth of a child brings not only joy to the immediate family but also peace in the community. For instance, in some parts of Nigeria like Igbo land, the birth of a child brings unity and settles quarrels among friends, enemies and neighbours.
But when this most sought after gift comes with a price, neither the mother of the child nor the father, relations and friends can sleep with their two eyes closed. Worse still, the condition is complicated when the couple is faced with the challenge of resources to tackle the life-threatening situation.
This is exactly the situation Mr & Mrs Godwin Aboh are facing. Their 15-month old baby, Destiny, is down with two large holes in the heart, a condition experts at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), say if nothing is done pretty fast, the baby may not live to celebrate his second birthday. And Destiny's case is a bit complicated than what could be taken care of here in Nigeria. He needs N2 million for a life-saving surgery in India. Unfortunately his parents cannot afford it.
The couple already had a travelling passport obtained for Destiny for possible medical trip in India last Monday when they visisted the Vanguard Corporate Head Office, Apapa, Lagos. Sadly, securing a passport was far from the issue at stake. Where is the money? This is the one million dollar question this young couple has long been searching for an answer to four days after the birth of Destiny at Zoligan Hospital, Ajegunle, Lagos.
A year and three months after, nothing substantial has been done to reduce Destiny's suffering. Having to take care of the baby is difficult as he cries all day. Some times he loses consciousness. It is so bad that you even think he was dead.
At 15 months (a year and three months), Destiny cannot sit or play like every other child. His breathing is abnormal. He only feeds on milk. He consumes at least three tins of milk in two days.
Destiny is said to have been born with a congenital heart disease. According to an echocardiogram report from LASUTH, signed by Dr. B. A Animasahun, a consultant paediatric cardiologist, the baby has large perimembranous vascular disease, VSD, with posterior upper muscular extension, moderate sized PDAL- R and severe PAH. By this result, Destiny requires urgent medical attention.
He cannot feed like every other child; even as essential as breast milk is to babies, he has never had a taste of it due to ill health. He only feeds on milk. His father, a contract security officer with Cardinal Security, can no longer cope with the baby's exorbitant hospital and feeding bills. .
The mother, Anna, who confessed to have fainted when the result of the echo test was broken to her, said: "I lost consciousness immediately the news was broken to me because I know the kind of work my husband does and definitely that cannot afford the hospital bill not to talk of our feeding.
"The meagre salary of my husband before now was not able to sustain us and our two other children. Our survival till this moment remains a miracle. Since the diagnosis, we have been running from pillar to post to raise money; all we get is promises, but, according to the doctors at LASUTH, we have little time.
"We have been to Kanu Heart Foundation where we were told that the list of awaiting patients is long and that if we want to wait, it may take two to three years before it will get to our turn. It was then we knew there was no hope. We have also been to many other Foundations but help seems not to be coming our way. Then, we decided to come to Vanguard to appeal to Nigerians to help us save the life of our son."
The husband, Godwin, continued from there. According to him, it all began like a child's play. He told Sunday Vanguard that Destiny's condition started the day after they were discharged after his birth. Destiny's health condition started like fever.
According to medical science, some babies are born with such congenital defects. The Aboh family was able to recognise the medical implications even though they do not have the resources to take care of the baby.
Appealing to Nigerians, corporate organisations, philanthropists and the governor of his home state of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, to come to their aid, Godwin said: "It has been a tough situation for us. Only the feeding and drugs that are changed every two weeks have consumed all my life savings. I appeal to Nigerians, corporate organisations and Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola to please save my child. I want my baby to live but how do I do it if I don't get help? Doctors are saying that we are running out of time."
If you are touched by the story of Destiny, please contact Mr & Mrs Godwin Aboh on 08051517256 or 08057033128