OWERRI – March 11, 2020 was a sad day for the family of Mr. Anayochukwu Njoku following the death of his wife, Chidinma Njoku, who was delivered of conjoined twins in an undisclosed maternity home at Umuokoto Nekede, Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State.
Goodluck and Rejoice Njoku are the names of the conjoined twins and their mother was said to have died three hours after their delivery, leaving her husband and four other children behind. The babies are on an intensive care at the Imo Foundation located along Umuguma-World Bank road in Owerri after the burial of their mother.
Receiving the information by the Imo Foundation being the humanitarian and philanthropic agency of Imo State Government, the agency took over the predicament of the family and promised to pay all bills related to the surgery of the twins with a view to separate them.
The Director General of the state agency, Mrs. Beulah Chukwuma disclosed this in an interview with Saturday INDEPENDENT. She added that Governor Hope Uzodimma has directed that every effort should be made to assist the family and to ensure that the babies survive.
“Imo Foundation coordinates the humanitarian activities of Imo State Government. What we do here basically is medical philanthropy as well as empowering the less privilege, the indigent people of Imo State. Giving a helping hand to the needy. You know our motto says, ‘If only the poor can smile,’ that’s what Imo Foundation is all about.
“For instance, we have a major case on ground. We have a family that is here now, children, co-joined twins. You know when a woman has twins, you see two kids standing on their own separately, but these particular children, very beautiful children, they are joined together. Now we are working to separate them. That is the major issue on ground now.”
Mrs. Chukwuma explained other issues, receiving attention by her agency and appealed to donor agencies to help Imo Foundation in its efforts to deliver her mandate of helping the needy.
According to her, the agency has contacted medical surgeons at the University Teaching Hospital Enugu to visit and estimate the cost of separating the twins.
“We are reaching out to quickly get their surgery done. So that the twins can begin to enjoy and live a better life, almost to the point of kidney failure. What we tried do is to achieve a good mileage as quickly as possible. Of course, we have a major challenge, there are experts that are supposed to come and really take over so that they will be able to give us specific cost but they have not been able to come because there is restrictions of interstate movement.
“We are already in touch with UNTH, Enugu but unfortunately they can’t come and it is not something they can manage from afar. As soon as they come, we will be able to come up with specific amounts we are really looking at to get the surgery done.
“But of course while they are here, they eat, the babies are eating and their care givers are eating. Because the father of these children are really economically challenged. They come from a family of six now. Unfortunately, the wife died delivering the twins. So the other four children are on him. He is taking care of them. So he is not able to do anything for them.”
The Foundation further revealed how the state government has been dedicated to the peculiar issue of this family.
“Thank God their case was discovered and they came here. And since they came, His Excellency has been taking care of them. All their basic needs are being provided by the Governor. While waiting for things to clear a bit, so the experts will come and then take over. But what we are also going to do in Imo Foundation, we are not just going to take care of these children, by the time we finish with the children, we should also think of how the family will survive.
“Imo Foundation will go the extra mile to ensure that the head of the family, their father is gainfully employed. We will assist him to be able to stand on his feet to take care of his family so that the family can quickly recover from this trauma and move on.
“Even before I came in here, Imo Foundation has some partnerships or NGOs that have been working with them. Even Imo people in diaspora, they come to our aid. We organise medical missions here, from time to time but you know this COVID-19 pandemic has been a major challenge because all our partners outside cannot come in. Everybody is waiting for things to really calm down before we can fully swing into action.”
Saturday INDEPENDENT curiously inquired if there are other cases they have treated in the recent past. Njoku said: “There is another family that came three days ago, their daughter is having a kidney challenge, almost to the point of kidney failure. They are on our neck, they are asking for our help. And we are also working to see what we can do to be able to help them. There are so many of them.
“They come every other day. If you spend a week here, you will be surprised. Some are blind people. There is a family here, the husband is blind, he has a family, and Imo Foundation has to care for them. There are so many of our people, if they need surgery, Imo Foundation comes in.
“Like I said earlier, we do health philanthropy and what we have tried to do is like first aid here. It is not what it used to be because knowing Imo Foundation maybe by the time you come here today, you may have seen a large crowd of people, seeking help, but we have tried to avoid that for now for the safety of the staff and the people too with the hope that very soon, things will clear and we begin to do that which we are known for.”
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