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Corrective surgery for anorectal defect kids

Limpho Sello

TWO eight-year-old girls born with rare anorectal malformations are next month set to under-go corrective surgery in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Anorectal malformation is a birth defect where the rectum is malformed and happens during the development of the baby during pregnancy. People with such medical conditions excrete both stool and urine from one opening.

Both from Sebelekoane in the Mafeteng district, the two girls have imperforate anuses (no opening at the end of the digestive tract where the anus is normally located). Their rectums connect with the urinary tract /vagina.

The life changing surgery will give relief to the girls who were now being shunned by their communities because of the smell of feaces that they discharge each time that they use the toilet.

One of the girls also has an outward navel that has grown to the size of a tennis ball.

The girls were recently rereferred to Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH), Tsepong so that they could be assessed in preparation for their surgery.

Speaking to the Lesotho Times last week, David Nkhahle, a nurse from St. Andrews Health Centre, in the Mafeteng district where the girls receive their primary health care, said they are expected to return to Tsepong next month. Upon the second visit, Mr Nkhahle said, arrangements for their referral to Bloemfontein would then be made.

Mr Nkhahle said the girls’ condition can lead a normal life after the surgery as the malformations are only outside the body.

“The girls will just need time to heal after the surgery and also the psycho-social support but their problem should be solved after the procedure,” he said.

When the girls were discovered two months ago, Centre for Impacting Lives coordinator, Mabile Khaile, said the girls’ condition was only diagnosed days after their mothers’ discharge from hospital after their birth.

Ms Khaile said the girls suffer from stigma from other children which has resulted in trauma while in some instances they feel rejected at home.

“Although the girls have been recognised for smartness in school, the have both lost interest in school due to the discrimination from other students and age mates in the community,” Ms Khaile.

One of the girls’ uncle, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the minor, said his family was relieved that his niece would finally be normal.

“We are happy d because we lived our lives with questions we could answer and we always wondered how life was going to be for her when she grows older.

“We are grateful to God because we are now going to see my niece’s life and that of the other girl turn around. They will no longer be stigmatised by the community and they will be able to relieve themselves normally,” he said.

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