According to a press release issued by the Founder of the Linking Hands Foundation, Mrs Efe Farinre, two conjoined Nigerian girls, Miracle and Testimony Ayeni, whose case had raised serious medical concerns about a year ago, have been successfully separated after a surgery at the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, in a highly complex and extremely risky procedure which took 18 hours to perform.
The surgery was carried out by a team of medical experts, who did it without charging any money.
The release stated that, while the girls will require further surgeries, the hospital is about their long-term prognosis and this has restored joy and hope back to the family of the Ayenis, whose nights of trauma and anxiety had been resolved by this medical exploit.
The Ayeni twins were fused together at the lower half of the body, a condition which medical experts say occurs in only one in 200,000 live births.
The conjoined twins were born in Enugu State, on the 16th November, 2015. The father, Samuel Ayeni, is a building supervisor while the mother, Mary, is a fulltime house wife.
The two parents who are from Kogi State had been in a dilemma, about how to resolve the complexities of the uncommon medical condition, as well as raise the sum of over one million dollars, which was required for the surgery, before the Linking Hands Foundation took over the matter in January, as part of its “Every-Child-Counts Initiative.”
While the foundation made several efforts to get financial and other forms of support, for the separation of Miracle and Testimony, two Nigerian volunteer medical advisors, who are in the diaspora, Dr Opesanmi Esan and Dr Uzoma Ben Gbulie, facilitated a contact with the Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Tennessee, USA, which eventually agreed to carry out the operation pro bono in May.
The Linking hands Foundation disclosed that, the Kogi State Government donated a sum of 3 million Naira for the upkeep of the twins, while the surgery lasted just as Arik Air offered free return tickets to the children and their parents, in order to facilitate their travels to the United States of America.
While commending the generous compassion and commendable professionalism of the President of the Le Bonheur Children Hospital, Ms Meri Amour, and the surgical team, led by Dr Max Langham, Mrs Farinre said the successful separation of the Ayeni twins was a demonstration of what organisations and individuals can do together, in furtherance of corporate social responsibilities in the overall interests of less-privileged members of the society.
She said the Linking hands Foundation looks forward to sharing the “whole story” of how in the “Spirit of One Nigeria”, “everyday Nigerians” did their “bit” such that we have this “big” today.
Speaking after the successful separation of the twins, the father, Samuel Ayeni said “Without faith things wouldn’t have worked out. When you give everything to God and believe, He will give you peace. I have the faith that He is helping us, and we are giving all of this to Him.”
The Linking Hands Foundation expresses hope, that the “testimony” of this “miracle” encourages and provokes Nigeria to take decisive action towards world-class medical competency, as well as improved health care for all Nigerian children, regardless of class, tribe or status.