Namibia: Girl With Hole in Heart Awaits Risky Operation in South Africa

One-year-old Frieda Alweendo from Windhoek was born with a condition which left her with a hole in her heart, one hand and both legs deformed and her lungs compromised.

Frieda's condition is called parallel circulation.

Her mother, Ndeshie Werner, says she was devastated when she learnt of her daughter's heart condition.

"It was heartbreaking and still is heartbreaking. I could not understand why my little girl had to go through such a condition," she says.

Frieda was only days old when she had to undergo countless examinations and check-ups, Werner says.

"No mother wants to see her baby go through something like that and be so helpless," she says.

Werner and her daughter were scheduled to fly to Cape Town for an operation this year, which did not materialise due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Frieda's condition has become worse, because apart from the hole in her heart, it is also compressing her lungs, which makes her dependent on constant additional oxygen.

"Doctors explained to me it would be risky to operate on the child, but I just need something to be done," Werner says.

"Things have not been easy for my husband and myself. I stopped working last year because I had to care for our child. With her condition I had no choice, because no daycare would cater to her needs," Werner says.

Frieda's father, Matheus Alweendo, who was retrenched this year, says: "We have been surviving on the help we get from our neighbours and some of our friends, which we are grateful for, but that can only go so far."

He says his path crossed with local artist King Tee Dee, real name Martin Morocky, who visited the family at home and donated them some much-needed items.

"I figured if someone who has some form of influence and can bring awareness to our situation, it would help," Alweendo says.

"The situation really touched me, because the little girl is the same age as my daughter, and my own is able to run around and play with others, but she [Frieda] cannot. That was sad to see," Morocky says.

The family is waiting for an update from a hospital in Cape Town about the possible operation. Meanwhile, Frieda's parents are calling on the public for help.

"Any form of help you can offer would be highly appreciated," Werner says.

A cardiologist who has been attending to Frieda at the Katutura Intermediate Hospital hospital prefers to remain anonymous.

He says her condition is complex and that she needs special care, especially if an operation is performed.

Local hospitals are not equipped for this, he says.

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