TWIN baby girls, who were born conjoined at the navel, have been successfully separated in hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, after an 870-mile round trip, aided by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).
MAFMAFThe twins, Anick and Destin, were born naturally on 23 August in the remote village of Muzombo. A week later, they travelled 15 hours on the back of a motorbike, wrapped in a blanket, with their parents, Claudine Mukhena and Zaiko Munzadito, to Vanga Evangelical Hospital, in Bandudu. On their arrival, Dr Junior Mudji contacted the MAF to request that they be flown to the capital, Kinshasa, where volunteer surgeons could operate.
On 2 September, an MAF pilot, Brett Reierson, flew the family to the capital — a journey of 90 minutes — saving more than 14 hours by road. Successful separation surgery was then performed, and, almost a month later, another MAF pilot, Nick Frey, flew the family back to the hospital in Bandudu, where the family will be monitored for several weeks.
“The natural delivery of conjoined twins would be rare enough in a Western hospital,” Mr Reierson said. “But for a mum and her babies to survive this type of birth, in such a remote setting, followed by the long and difficult journey across the jungle to be separated — it’s unbelievable. It was a privilege to be part of their story.”
MAF has served in the country since 1961. There are currently 19 MAF missionary families based there, nine aircraft, and more than 50 Congolese staff members.