27 November 2012

Zambia: DNA Rests Kitwe Baby Swap Saga

DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC Acid (DNA) results of a Kitwe baby boy allegedly swapped for a girl have confirmed that Annah Mwanza, who raised the complaint, is the biological mother of the baby girl.

This is in a disputed maternity case where a Kitwe couple, Annah and Geston Mwanza claimed that their baby boy was swapped for a girl at Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH) in October, this year.

Ms Mwanza of Buchi Township had maintained that she delivered a baby boy at Buchi Health Centre before she was moved to KCH due to power failure and that she later discovered that she was given a baby girl.

The matter raised controversy and public attention, prompting KCH to take samples to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka and later to South Africa for tests.

The DNA tests were carried out by the National Health Laboratory Service of South Africa and released in Kitwe yesterday.

Police officers yesterday announced the DNA results to the couple and in the presence of KCH management officials which indicated that the baby girl actually belonged to the couple.

Riverside Police Station criminal investigations officer (CID), Ephraim Kosamu said the combined maternity index, calculated from the data obtained on all the systems was 2152.8882 and that this meant that Ms Mwanza was approximately 2153 times more likely to be the biological mother of the baby, than a woman chosen at random.

"Using the Bayesian method of calculating probabilities and accepting a prior probability of 0.5, the probability that Annah Mweshi Mwanza is the biological mother of Ronica Mwanza, is 99.9536 per cent," the DNA interpretation results indicated.

Zambia National Blood Transfusion Service (ZNBTS) Director, Joseph Mulenga also confirmed the DNA results, which were expected to rest the maternity dispute.

And speaking on behalf of the couple, Newstead Mwanza expressed happiness that the results had put the case to rest.

Mr Mwanza, who is Geston's uncle, commended medical personnel for the speedy release of the DNA results.

"We cannot show how happy we are with the results. A lot of questions have been answered and we have to sit down to find out the error and rectify it," he said.

KCH Senior Medical Superintendent, John Mwewa thanked the police for handling the case in a transparent manner.

The couple and KCH senior staff later held a closed door meeting.

This was the second case of suspected baby swapping reported after the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka recorded a similar incident.

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