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Separated twins finally leave hospital after nearly 3 years

By Nasibo Kabale | Published Fri, June 16th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 15th 2017 at 23:33 GMT +3

Sister Theresia Ndunge holds twins Blessing Kathure (left) and Favour Karimi who were released from KNH Thursday. The twins who were conjoined at the back underwent a successful operation in 2016. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The broad smiles and ecstatic faces on everyone told it all.

The two lovely girls Blessing and Favour Mukiri were finally leaving Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) - their home for the past nearly three years.

The conjoined twins underwent a 23-hour delicate and historic operation at the hospital on November 1 last year.

They were born joined at the lower back on September 4, 2014 in Meru. They also shared some abdomen organs. Both were transferred to Kenyatta National Hospital the following day.

Unknown to them, they were about to make Kenya’s, if not Africa’s, medical history.

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After more than 24 months of monitoring, consultations and planning, the two were wheeled into the hospital’s theatre where a medical team of 58 made history in Sub-Saharan Africa by separating the conjoined twins.

The girls were separated in a 23-hour operation that started on the morning of November 1, 2016 to dawn on November 2.

The two brave girls emerged from surgery separated but still sharing a fighting spirit.

Thursday, the two girls whose surgery captivated the entire country took their first journey home.

Dressed in lovely new dresses, Favour, who is more talkative of the two, and her calmer twin, Blessing, in a yellow dress giggled at doctors, nurses, other members of hospital staff who gathered to bid them farewell.

After a quick elevator ride in the arms of hospital CEO Lily Koros, the beaming girls giggled at the attention they drew from onlookers and a battery of journalists.

Their mother, Caroline Mukiri, called it the happiest day of her life, one that she had been waiting for, for the past 33 months.

Dr Joel Lesan, a pediatric surgeon, who took part in the separation, assured the single mother that the hospital would continue monitoring the progress of the two girls. But he expressed confidence that Mukiri had learnt enough about handling the girls.

“We will periodically do checks and over the past month we have let her do everything on her own without supervision,” he said.

Doctors said the two might need to make some trips back to KNH in future for check up. “The girls will be back at an ideal time and we will mobilise the necessary structures,” said Lesan.

KNH promised to continue covering the cost of treatment for the two girls, which so far stands at about Sh6 million.

“The National Hospital Insurance Fund covered Sh2.4 million, we took care of the rest,” said Ms Koros, the hospital’s CEO.

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