HealthWomen and Girls

Saving conjoined twins

1st October 2017

‘Despite his best efforts to shield her from the throng, the woman was being swarmed by over 200 people, touching her, taking pictures, calling out, shouting questions, and staring. As they approached the plane, I could see she was clutching a small bundle in her arms.’

The surgeon whisked her into the plane and proceeded to tell the mother’s incredible story to MAF’s Jaclyn Reierson.

‘That bundle in her arms is twin girls. Conjoined twins. Attached at the navel – they were born in a remote village so far away that no one around here even knows where it is. And they were born naturally!’ He said incredulously. ‘Thirty-seven-week-old, conjoined twins born naturally! It’s unheard of!’

The family travelled to a nearby health centre, then 155 miles farther, squished on the back of a moto (small motorcycle), through the jungle to reach the hospital in Vanga with the nine day old twins.

Vanga hospital

Vanga is a remote village in the heart of the DRC. Its large missionary hospital serves the entire surrounding region, providing medical care to thousands of people in need each year.

MAF often transport doctors, patients, and supplies to Vanga, and occasionally does medevacs when emergencies come up.

The doctors initially began the preparations for another long and difficult journey through the jungle. ‘But (we) were concerned for the safety of the fragile new-born babies.

‘When I was told that MAF would help and could subsidise this flight, it was great news for us!’ he explained enthusiastically.

Family flight

The MAF workers shooed the crowd away multiple times as pilot Brett finished readying the plane. Hundreds of people lined up to see them off.

Hazy skies and the drone of the airplane created a sense of solitude on the flight back – a welcome change from the unrelenting curiosity of the crowd. Enjoying the chance to ponder the events of the day, Jaclyn glanced back at the family. The shared looks between them told he that they were enjoying these few quiet moments to be together as a family before re-entering the world of doctors, hospitals, and curious crowds. Brett’s ‘thumb’s up’ brought corresponding nods and smiles. They were content.

Landing in Kinshasa, MAF contacted the surgeon coming to pick them up at the airport and gave him directions. Now what? Wait. Pray. Trust that our God who had orchestrated this story still had it firmly in His control.

‘Thirty-seven-week-old, conjoined twins born naturally! It’s unheard of!’

Successful surgery

Two weeks later, Jaclyn received a short text from the surgeon in Vanga. ‘I just got the call! The twins have been separated! Now for the recovery…’  Thank you, Jesus!

‘What sweet news! In this country where there is so much pain, so much struggle and uncertainty for everyday life, and so little hope for help, we were filled with gratitude.’

Please pray for this family, and many others living in remote locations with real needs and struggles. Pray that people’s lives would be transformed by the tangible love of Jesus shown to them in their times of greatest need.