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Mother appeals for help to pay for daughter’s operation

Senate Lerotholi

A MASERU woman is appealing for help in raising M500 for her 17-month-old daughter to undergo an operation to correct her vaginal atresia condition.

According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital website, vaginal atresia is a defect in which the vagina is closed or absent.

When the child was born, the condition had not yet manifested. It was only diagnosed when she started struggling to urinate when she was nine months old.

However, her mother, ‘Mamontši Ndaba, has failed to raise the M500 that is required for the corrective procedure.

Babies with vaginal atresia often also have Bardet-Biedl syndrome, Fraser syndrome or Rokitansky-Mayer-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Bardet-Biedl syndrome is a rare disorder affecting many parts of the body and common characteristics include, loss of vision, obesity, kidney problems and intellectual disorders.

Babies born with Fraser syndrome typically have eyes that are completely covered by skin and usually malformed, fingers and toes that are joined together and abnormalities of the urinary tract.

MRKH syndrome is a disorder which causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent. It is often associated with kidney anomalies. Surgery is recommended to address the problem.

Although it is unclear what corrective operation has been prescribed by the doctors at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) where the child must be operated, Ms Ndaba said she was trying to raise M500 she had been asked to pay.

In a recent interview with the Sunday Express at her rented Tšenola home, Ms Ndaba said she was jobless and survived on providing door to door laundry services. She uses the income to feed the baby and her three other children.

During the interview, Ms Ndaba cut a destitute figure. She said her daughter was due for the operation on 2 May 2022, but with no stable income, she was in dire straits.

“My baby writhes in pain each time she urinates, and I am sharing her agony,” Ms Ndaba said.

“I am unemployed and the little that I make, I spend on rent and food for my children. We are owing rent for three months because sometimes, I cannot raise the M300 for rent. We are on the verge of being evicted because I have not paid rent for three months.

“My daughter was diagnosed with the condition at Senkatana Hospital and was referred to QMMH where she is supposed to have the medical procedure done.”

So desperate is Ms Ndaba that at one point, she had an emotional breakdown and was taken to a psychiatric ward at Mohlomi Hospital. The nurses gave her medication, however, they instructed her that once she took it, she would have to stop breastfeeding.

But due to lack of money to buy alternative food, she avoided taking the medication as her daughter often goes for days without any alternative food apart from breast milk.

“We are always struggling for food. I am a single parent because my husband is late.”

Ms Ndaba said one of her neighbours, Nkopane Seutloali, took the matter to the Social Development ministry. However, he was told to bring hospital referral letters, the child’s birth certificate and a letter from the chief.

The mother has failed to provide the requirements as the child does not have a birth certificate.

“I have not managed to get her a birth certificate, so the Social Development ministry cannot assist us. My daughter must have an operation on 2 May 2022, but we do not have any money. I therefore, request assistance from well-wishers. If anyone wants to assist us, then they can contact me through my neighbour, Mr Seutloali’s numbers: 62300388 or 59583044,” Ms Ndaba said.

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