Baby Born With No Eyes Dies After Mother Refuses To Breastfeed Her
A baby girl born without eyes and deformed nostrils was said to have starved to death because the mother alleged that she was scared of her child and had never seen such a child before. The baby was said to have been born at seven months.
Ms Mariam had only attended two antenatal care clinics at a public hospital in her hometown.
“Hospitals are very far and I couldn’t afford the clinic at private hospitals. I used traditional methods,” she said.
“My water broke while I was doing my chores and she just came out. She’s seven months old. I never felt any pains during her birth. But on looking at her we realized she did not have eyes. I was dumb founded,” said the mother.
She gave birth to the girl at home after she was turned away in different public hospitals due to the ongoing nurse’s strike that has paralyzed health services.
After she was born, the child stayed for 10 hours without breast milk. According to the family, the baby cried for hours due to hunger and later died at night.
The mother refused to breastfeed the newborn due to her condition. The mother said she was afraid of her baby girl.
“She frightened me. I have never seen such a human being,” she told Nation.
“The best we can do is throw her in a dungeon in a forest. I did not name her,” the mother said, adding that she could not breastfeed the baby "lest the omen falls on me".
Ms Mariam's uncle, said the baby had not been fed on anything since she was born Sunday morning.
He said the baby was buried in accordance with their traditions.
"We buried her outside our home to ward off bad omen associated with such kind of a child," he said.
Ms Mariam's husband, Hassan, said he could not comprehend why God gave him such a child.
“I am equally scared. I have never seen such a human being. Whatever the elders will decide let it be,” he said.
Villagers including religious leaders trickled in the humble homestead to glare at the baby. The villagers and family members wanted to throw the baby in a dungeon to let the ‘gods’ take care of the child.
Some doctors suspect the child was born with a condition known as anophthalmia. It is a condition in which one or both eyes do not form during pregnancy. When both eyes are affected, blindness results.
According to the American Foundation for the Blind, anophthalmia may be diagnosed during a pre-natal ultrasound. Alternatively, it is diagnosed soon after birth when parents and pediatricians notice the lack of eye tissue, essentially non-existent eyeballs.
An MRI can confirm the diagnosis.
Dr Ibrahim Matende, the president of the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) said the condition is rare.
“The child needed to undergo a medical examination to determine the condition. Sometimes they are able to see," he said.
The eye specialist also noted that the situation was unfortunate but not a bad omen, adding that the baby's family needs counselling.