By Dr Abiola Ajayi

Bladder extrophy is a rare medical condition in which a baby is born with the urinary bladder located outside the body.

The incidence of bladder extrophy in Nigeria is about 1 in 50,000 births,  with a male to female ratio of about 2:1. Bladder extrophy is not a condition anyone would wish even an enemy’s child due to the stigmatisation and high rates of infanticide and homicide committed by parents and care providers because of the frustration associated with the care.

Baby Erioluwa Lawal was born with bladder extrophy on the 3rd of May 2017, into the family of Mr Lawal,  a commercial bus driver who had to sell his only bus after the delivery of the baby, to  be able to pay the bills at the facility where the baby was born.

Eri’s mother has four children,  with Eri being the youngest. The baby’s  health condition had brought much unrest and frustration to the Lawal family.

According to the parents,  there was no money to fly Eri abroad or do the surgery. Prior to when I received Baby Eri at ROA Specialist Hospital, Arepo,  he was being managed at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.

The attention of Mrs Hameedat Balogun, who’s a Sociopreneur and runs an NGO,  Hameedah Poverty Alleviation Foundation, was drawn to Eri. The Sociopreneur confirmed the story after speaking with the family. She further contacted her friends who are philanthropists in  the US and the UK,  thereby raising funds for laboratory tests and prepare Eri for surgery, while also caring for the family herself. There were many children awaiting surgeries at LASUTH, so measures were taken to rescue Eri.

A surgeon who was contacted in the US Eri’s welfare team  had worked closely with me during my medical practice in the United States.  The team members were directed to me at ROA Specialist Hospital, Arepo, where  Eri would be offered respite.

Is it true there is such a health facility in Arepo, Ogun State, where this surgery could be done? Such was the question. The team visited ROA Specialist Hospital, inspected the American Standard of structures on ground, and Baby Eri was billed for surgery.

I thereafter, invited my team of surgeons(friends) from the United States, which included a kidney transplant surgeon to witness the operation.

Tears of joy ran down the cheeks of the parents, as Baby Eri’s surgery was a success in a few hours.

Follow-up management entails  six-monthly clinic appointment with the paediatric urologist the Specialist Hospital, Arepo  for possible cosmetic surgery at age 5 years if necessary, with the help of Hope Medical Missions, our NGO at ROA Specialist Hospital.

The American Standard of healthcare has been brought to the grassroots with efficiency and affordability at ROA Specialist Hospital,  Arepo,  Ogun State.

*Dr Abiola Ajayi is MD/CEO, ROA Specialist Hospital, Arepo, Ogun State

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