H-E-L-P, Girl, 3, with bladder outside her body begs for a lifeline

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By Ben Agande, Abuja

For Ibrahim Jimoh, the sight of his three-year-old daughter, Rabiatu, evokes mixed reactions: Joy and sadness. He is happy to have such a pretty girl as a daughter but sad that she cannot live a normal life of a toddler because of her health challenge. She was born with congenital abnormality: Her bladder is outside her body. And after two unsuccessful operations,  Jimoh has been forced to ask Nigerians for help to get the daughter treated in an Indian hospital.

“My daughter, Rabiatu, was born on October 14, 2013 at Bethel Hospital, Ido Sarki, Abuja, with this congenital malfunctioning called bladder atrophy. The bladder is outside the body”, he told Sunday Vanguard, last week.

“Her mother was going for antenatal care at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja. She went for scan and this problem was not discovered during her pregnancy. We were expecting a normal child”.

But what they saw when the persistent strike by doctors in public hospitals forced the Jimoh family to have their child delivered at a private clinic at Ido Sarki, a  settlement along Airport Road, Abuja, was not what they bargained for. The girl’s bladder was outside her body.

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The girl

“We have taken the child to University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, for surgery which was done in December 2013, and went for a second one in March 2014, based on the consultant’s advice after he told us that the problem was congenital” the father said.

But while the child was discharged and  brought back home, another tragedy struck. Her elder sister mistakenly pulled out the pipe connected to the bladder empty urine, leading to the collapse of the second operation. Jimoh, who had spent so much taking care of the ailing daughter, had no money to go for  subsequent surgeries to permanent correct the defect. He had lost his job a year after the child was born.

“I  spent over N1.5 million on the two surgeries so far, which include the drugs, hospital bill and feeding. My daughter from birth has continued to wear  diapers up till now that she is three and a half years. She cannot control her urine and faeces because anything she eats or drinks just comes out of the body. This has made us to constantly clean her up and wear diapers for her continually.

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“I always go to the hospital to buy normal saline to clean her up for the place not to dry. We have been doing this since she was born. I have no support from anywhere. Meanwhile, the consultant who handled the surgeries at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital advised us to take her to India since they have done two surgeries that were not successful. I lost my job in 2015 and I have no money to take her to India for the surgery.

“I am begging Nigerians to help for the sake of my baby. The consultant told me the surgery will be in four different stages that will cost N6 million. I really need help to restore our daughter’s health. Apart from this, she does not have any other health challenge”.

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