Nigeria: 'How We Helped 10-Year-Old Mum Deliver Baby'

(file photo)
10 August 2019

Makurdi — Danger period not over - Obstetrician

The case of 10-year-old Masenengen, who was delivered of a baby girl last Monday at a Makurdi hospital, in Benue State, caused a stir. The minor, who lost her father just after she was born, was dumped at the General Hospital in North Bank area of Makurdi while in labour on Sunday evening. Her mother is said to have been married to another man in a distant village and ever since, the girl had survived at the mercy of relatives.

The young mother-to-be's condition at the hospital attracted sympathizers, even as she wept uncontrollably, having been having labour spasms for three days, before she was brought to the hospital. As a curious crowd surged, a kind-spirited individual called Ukan Kurugh, popular for his humanitarian activities, made moves which yielded positive results.

Kurugh told Daily Trust Saturday that soon after he heard the story, he rushed to the hospital, while in arrangement with others, sought her transfer to the Foundation Hospital on Konshisha Street. "At 1:00am, she was moved out of the General Hospital and straight away into the theater on arrival at the Foundation Hospital, and in less than an hour, she was delivered of a baby girl, weighing 2.5kg through caesarean section," he said.

Medical Director of Foundation Hospital, Dr. Ijiko Michael, who carried out the delivery, expressed optimism that mother and child are in good condition. He said the girl was brought in an anemic condition at midnight on Sunday, and that he had to infuse blood on her before carrying out the C-section. He said the next challenge surfaced after the baby was born as it was discovered that the mother's bladder had become weak because of the prolonged labour, having been in pains (labour) for three days.

Dr. Michael said that was why the use of catheter became necessary to enable the girl pass out urine, as he stressed that mother and child would need further care. "There are issues of rehabilitation, psychosocial issues, among others. The system has not done justice to her. She has been out of school and needs care and protection," he added.

Similarly, the Chairman of Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Makurdi Dr. Nombur Isaac, opined that the danger period regarding the circumstances of the 10-year-old mother were not yet over.

Isaac who is an Obstetrician and also the Medical Director of NIA Hospital in Makurdi added that, "we can only ascertain for sure after a week. The danger period has not passed yet."

He pointed out that the girl became pregnant at her age because in some female children, puberty sets in earlier than normal but that the pregnancy would in no way had been easier for her throughout the nine months.

Isaac added that if the girl had a prolonged labour and was unattended to, there were likelihood for her to develop Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) just as more attention should be focused on her being a child catering for another child. "Now, it is going to be more difficult for her; taking care of the baby in terms of breast feeding and taking care of herself. She needs to be properly taught how to care for the child," the obstetrician maintained.

At the time of this report, the suspected father of the newborn is already in the custody of the Benue State Police Command. The command's spokesman, DSP Catherine Anene, who confirmed the development, said further investigation is ongoing. She disclosed that the suspect, an 18-year-old, admitted to have had carnal knowledge of the victim "just once".

The teenager was paraded on Thursday by the Commissioner of Police, Mukaddas Garba, who had put the age of the suspect at 18. But in an interview, the offender claimed 17. He also explained that sometime last year, he had helped the girl after she cried to him that there was no food for her to eat. He confessed to have had sex with her one of the nights she told him that the uncle drove her away, and he had to provide space in his room for her to sleep. He admitted to having sex with her twice, and never knew she became pregnant afterwards. He said his victim kept a distance from him, and that even when he sighted her in February, this year, she ran away.

The commissioner of police said the alleged rapist will soon be charged to court.

CP Garba also said: "Investigation revealed that the girl's uncle was making arrangement to marry her out to an old, blind man, when he discovered that she was pregnant. The uncle is currently at large."

One Adakole Daniel, an Idoma Youth Leader, was among the first persons that raised alarm for help. He said he was at home when another youth leader living in the hospital area, called his attention to the plight of the girl. "I quickly headed to the hospital. A crowd had already gathered, as people were amazed at the pregnancy because of her age. The nurses had a difficult time chasing people away. It was about 7:15pm so we had to start looking for good spirited individuals to come to her rescue," he added.

Similarly, Nurse Ortese Zindzi, who works with the Benue State Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) had accompanied Ukan Kurugh to move the girl to the hospital where she eventually delivered. "I saw it online, shared to those on my Facebook and then we started talking to people about it. I called Ukan, together, we went to evacuate the pregnant girl to Foundation hospital from the General hospital at North Bank. We did a lot of networking, until we got someone who agreed to open her shop, and gave us baby things free of charge. She was taken into the theatre and in less than an hour, she was delivered of the baby girl," the nurse narrated.

Zindzi however explained that they earlier met the 10-year-old, writhing in labour pains and unkempt, at the General Hospital, stressing that it was obvious that she couldn't give birth to the baby except through C-section. "It was at that point we sought the doctor's permission to take her away," she narrated.

National Coordinator of Jireh Doo Foundation, Josephine Habba, said: "The representative of the Women Affairs Ministry came, and what she said was that the mother is also a child, so Civil Society Organisations should give them the matter officially, by handing over to them." Benue State government, through the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Tabitha Igirgi, on Tuesday took over the case, with the aim of catering for their needs.

Represented by the Director of Child Development in the Ministry, Mrs Ann Yaji, the commissioner thanked the hospital management for accepting the minor at the medical facility and the CSOs for facilitating the admission of the minor.

Yaji said the government was passionate about helping vulnerable children, and would take care of them. "We are not here to displace the CSOs that have made so much effort, but from today, we are taking over," she said, just as she handed over to the hospital two nannies to take care of the girl and her baby, on shift basis.

At the moment, individuals both from within and outside Nigeria, are reaching out to make donations and other forms of assistance towards assisting the 'child-mother' and her baby.

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