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Nasarawa baby still crying, needs N2m for surgery

Corporal Naphison Philemon closed from night shift duty at the office of the Deputy Governor, in Lafia, Nasarawa State, last week, to resume at another…

Corporal Naphison Philemon closed from night shift duty at the office of the Deputy Governor, in Lafia, Nasarawa State, last week, to resume at another shift: to take over from his wife, Patience, the duty of holding his sick toddler Marvelous, who needs to be cuddled all day and night. The baby was delivered with a twin sister, Marvel, on July 12, 2010. “He came out of the womb with a hole in his heart; that is what the scan by the doctors showed,” the mother had previously told Weekly Trust, while the father was moving him around, singing lullabies to put his afflicted son to sleep.

Marvelous coughs incessantly. “He has coughed like this since he came out of the womb. He has never ceased. He is always weak and cannot crawl, stand or even cry out loud. He is always in pain. He can’t sleep; so we are always on our toes holding him and singing for him till he sleeps. That way, he can get some little relief.” This was the same condition Weekly Trust found little Marvelous when our reporter accompanied the police officer to his private residence last week.

The entire family is desperate for assistance but help is hardly coming. The police officer had a letter – September 30, 2011 – from Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), which diagnosed little Marvelous of the disease, appealing to Governor Umaru Tanko al-Makura to assist the family get surgery abroad. The letter written in October, 2011, said, “he was evaluated and found to have Ventricular Septal Defect (a hole in the heart), that will require surgical intervention outside this country. “The cost of the surgery, hospital care and flight for mother, child and accompanying physician was estimated at N2 million. We will be grateful for whatever assistance you can give to make the surgery possible.”

Close to four months from the day of the appeal letter to Governor Al-Makura, the family has gone back to where they started. Corporal Naphison has taken his son back to JUTH, the same hospital that recommended surgery abroad. There is not even a word to him, from the Nasarawa State government over the N2 million-assistance he needs for his son’s surgery. Weekly Trust inquiries at the ministry of health showed that the governor had sent the letter there. But the instruction on it reads: “Keep in view.”

Corporal Naphison is back to JUTH, on another appointment with the doctors, but the family could not meet up. “We don’t have money again”, the corporal said as he clasped his son to his chest in front of the squalid accommodation which houses the family. “Even the drugs the doctors gave us to relieve him have finished”, he said while his wife stood by. “I pray God will touch someone’s heart to help our baby,” he said.

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