A baby girl who was born on Sunday, August 27, with facial deformities in Kenya has died of starvation after her mother refused to breastfeed her. Her nose was on the upper side of her face.
According to the family, the mother, Ms Mariam Mwakombo, 22, refused to breastfeed her because she was afraid. The baby cried for hours after birth due to hunger and later died at night.
Mariam Mwakombo told DailyNation: “She frightened me. I have never seen such a human being.” Ms Mwakombo’s husband, Hassan Kitoto, said he too could not comprehend why God gave him such a child.
“I am equally scared. I have never seen such a human being. Whatever the elders will decide let it be,” he said. Ms Mwakombo had only attended two antenatal care clinics at a public hospital in Kilifi before giving birth prematurely to the baby at home.
The villagers and family members wanted to throw the baby in a dungeon to let the ‘gods’ take care of her. But after she died they buried her outside her parents’ home to ward off bad omen associated with such a child.
Mwakombo said: “Hospitals are very far and I couldn’t afford the clinic at private hospitals. I used traditional methods. My water broke while I was doing my chores and she just came out. She’s seven months old.
I never felt any pains during her birth. But on looking at her, we realised she did not have eyes. I was dumbfounded. The best we could do was throw her in a dungeon in a forest. I did not name her. I could not breastfeed her lest the omen falls on me”.
Some doctors suspect the child was born with a condition known as anophthalmia. It is a condition in which one or both eyes do not form during pregnancy. When both eyes are affected, blindness results.
Dr Ibrahim Matende, the president of the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) said the condition is rare.