By Samuel Oyadongha
IN the African setting, the birth of a child is always a source of joy to the parents especially the woman and their joy is indescribable when the child is a boy.
This was the mood that enveloped Mr. and Mrs. Alatari Orugbani family when their child, little Emmanuel was delivered last June at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.
For the child’s father, the news that his wife had delivered safely was a huge relief to him having kept vigil outside the labour ward praying silently to God for the safety of his heartthrob and ‘new arrival’ to the family.
Though it was a cold day he was sweating profusely. His fears gave to ecstasy immediately the doctor came out of the labour room and congratulated him that his wife had just given birth to a bouncing baby boy.
The elated father gripped the doctor’s hands and shouted, “Thank God for His mercies” and almost wheeled away to celebrate when the former said, “Let’s meet in my office for a brief discussion.”
This brief discussion turned out to be a devastating blow to him as he was told, “sorry, there is something wrong with your baby.”
He was almost thrown off balance and enquired what was amiss. The doctor told him the child had imperforate anus and took time to explain to him the medical term to allay his fears.
“An imperforate anus is a birth defect in which the rectum is malformed. Its cause is unknown,” the doctor said but added that it could be corrected through surgery.
These are words no parents want to hear as it is usually a terrifying moment for any parent, a friend whose child also had the same condition before it was rectified told Vanguard Features, VF.
This was the fate that befell Mr. and Mrs. Alatari Orugbani the parents of little Emmanuel who was born without anus.
VF learnt that for over a year the couple, both civil servant had to contend with the problem of nursing their child and praying fervently for kind hearted persons with the financial muscle to come and wipe away their tears as they could not raise the money needed for surgery for their helpless boy.
Just as they pondered over their predicament, a benevolence heart in the person of Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva, wife of the Bayelsa State governor heard their cry for help and through her NGO, Centre for Gender Values and Culture, directed to take charge of the situation.
The doctors attached to the Centre for Gender Values and Culture who in the last three years had embarked on series of health care assistance to women and children in the predominantly riverine state after evaluating little Emmanuel case, who was then passing stool through a device inserted on his stomach, referred his case to the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) where second and third surgical operations were carried out on him this year having lived without an anus for about a year.
Three moths after the successful surgical operations, the one year and three months old boy can now live a normal life.
In an apparent demonstration of their gratitude, the elated couple last week visited the wife of the governor to express their appreciation for the success of the surgery.
Mrs. Sylva said she waded into the problem because the child’s condition gave her so much concern.
“I was troubled by little Emmanuel Alatari’s condition and I was desirous that he lived a normal life like every other child,” Mrs. Sylva said.
The First Lady who was full of joy tenderly touch the scar on the child’s tummy which was initially constructed to served as his rectum upon discovery that he had no anus after birth was grateful to God for the successful operation.
“I thank God for the successful surgery to enable little Emmanuel live a normal life,” she said and commended the doctors at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) for correcting the congenital imperforate anus.
The wife of the governor also lauded the parents especially the mother for taking special care of the little boy and the team of doctors of her NGO for bringing little Emmanuel Alatari’s condition to her attention.
She pleaded with all well meaning Bayelsans and Nigerians to render any form of assistance to the needy and less privileged in society whenever the opportunity presents itself.
In his remarks, Dr. Ayitonye Owei head of Mrs. Sylva’s medical team recalled that the child was born in June, 2009 with imperforate anus and needed three major surgeries for the situation to be corrected adding that the child now passes stool like very other normal child.
He was gratefuk to Mrs. Sylva for responding to the plight of the Orugbani family.
The parents of little Emmanuel who are from Nembe Bassambiri in the Bayelsa East senatorial district was also grateful to the governor’s wife for using her NGO to impact on the lives of the citizenry as well as their son so that they can live normal and healthy life.
“We were shell shocked when the doctor told us our son had birth defect and that he needs to undergo operation. It was a good thing that the governor’s wife picked interest in our child’s case when our appeal got to her and took over the matter,” the elated parents said and prayed God to bless her and her family.
God is indeed with the Orugbani family as the name of their child implies as there are others out there with similar condition who are yet to reach the kind hearted wife of the governor Mrs. Alanyingi Sylva or her NGO.
Apart from intervening in the little Emmanuel’s case, the Mrs. Sylva’s Centre for Gender Values and Culture (CGVC) had also in the past embarked on de-worming exercise, malaria awareness programme for children in the state and free cervical cancer screening exercise and workshop for traditional birth attendants in the state aimed at promoting infant and maternal health through timely intervention in cases of anemia, proper ante natal care among pregnant women.