By Chioma OBINNA
The first batch of children to benefit from various corrective surgeries facilitated by the Down Syndrome Foundation of Nigeria (DSFN) “Save-A-Life Project” have departed for India for the much needed life saving surgeries that would put their lives on track.
The beneficiaries who are mostly Nigerian indigent patients are 10 years old twins; Favour and Martha, four months old baby Daniel Oliha, 11 months old Baby Honour, and eight yearsold Grace Ademoye.
These children have one thing in common- all have Down Syndrome – a condition that occurs due to unexplainable extra chromosomes.
National President, DSFN, Mrs Rose Mordi, said the health intervention project was established to cater for these less privileged children who often comes down with various heart diseases, dental and eye problems amongst others due to their conditions. She said total cost of each child billed to undergo the heart surgeries would amount to N1.8 million.
“It is painful that we cannot take all the children at the same time due to lack of funds. But it is more disheartening that most of these children die even before we could raise money for their surgeries. No day passes that we do not get a new child unfortunately, the funds are not really there. The surgery will be done at the Narayana Haradayalaya Institute of Cardiac cantus Bangalore India. The N1.8 million does not include the operational costs and each child would be accompanied by a parent while a chaperon who will represent and coordinate the operation from India on behalf of DSFN”.
Mordi further announced that the Lagos State government has taken over the sponsorship of the next batch which would accommodate four children – four months Udenko Austin, three months old Okechukwu Emmanuella, nine years old Nwosu Kenneth and 16 months old Oderemi Femi.
Some donors include, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, DHL, International, Sahara Group, and an anonymous donor.
One of the mothers, Mrs Patience John, said: “It has not been easy, the pains, the difficulty in coping with such a child was just like a big blow on me. But I always had feelings my baby will live. I give God the glory.”
She advised other parents whose children had Down Syndrome to have faith. Baby Daniel’s mother. Another mother, Mrs Elizabeth Oliha recounted: “Each time people look at me, I can see discrimination in their eyes because of my child. I am happy he is among the beneficiaries today. I urge other parents with these children to be courageous and give thanks to God.”