Yemeni conjoined twins' mother sends urgent cry for help

The twin boys' doctor says the longer they are conjoined, the more complicated their condition will get

Yaseen, the four-month twin, would barely try to move his neck and eyes to explore and play with his older siblings, but with his sleepy twin Yousef sharing his head, he could never go far.

“I feel devastated when I look at them crying in their bed and begging me to pick them up and comfort them, but I can’t,” Samar, 24, the mother of the conjoined twins told The National.

The family shares an old mud brick house in impoverished Al Trais village, part of Seyoun district in Hadramawt province, eastern Yemen.

With three more mouths to feed and a 50-year-old husband who lost his job after suffering an injury at work, Samar is struggling to support her family, which survives mostly on assistance from local and international charities.

The UN describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80 per cent of the people in need of basic necessities.

The conflict in Yemen erupted in 2015, then an economic and currency collapse and the cornavirus pandemic followed.

The twins were born by caesarian section in Seyoun’s public hospital in October.

The boys fought hard for their lives in an incubator at the special care unit at the hospital, but since they were discharged their health has deteriorated.

Their condition pushed their mother and their doctor to plead for international help.

“I sent an urgent appeal to all the humanitarian agencies and the Yemeni government to help us send the twins for treatment abroad. Especially in Saudi Arabia, where we hear that many similar cases have been treated before," Samar said.

Dr Sameer Bajubeir, who has overseen the care of the twins, said that the longer the boys are conjoined, the more complicated their condition will become.

“They need to change positions when they sleep and sometimes one keeps playing while the other is sleeping, so each brother is a source of discomfort for the other,” Dr Bajubeir said.

However, there is always hope, he said.

“The cardiogram showed that they have separable brains, which gives hope for them to survive after separation,” Dr Sami Al Amoudi, from the health department in Hadramawt, said.

“We have contacted the King Salman Relief Centre in Al Riyadh and sent them a report about the twins’ case and they promised to study the case. They haven’t replied so far," said Dr Al Amoudi, who has contacted other hospitals abroad.

A similar case was born in the Sabeen public hospital in December 2020 to a 35-year old mother, whose family made a living from street vending in a public market in Sanaa.

But they were lucky to grab the international community's attention.

Unicef reported that the conjoined twins were taken on February 6 to a specialised hospital in Amman, Jordan, for separation surgery.

Updated: March 3, 2021 04:52 PM

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