By Bilal Kuchay
A pair of conjoined twins, who are fused at head have defied the odds and celebrated their first birthday – but their widowed mother is still waiting for a miracle to happen so that her twins can be surgically separated.
Zainab Bibi, 36, gave birth to Safa and Marva at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan in January 2017.
The infants are fused at their heads, a phenomenon known as ‘craniopagus twins’ that occurs just once in every 2.5 million births.
Despite being joint together by the tip of their skulls, a range of scans have since shown that they have separate brains.
However, the uncertainty over the surgery has plundered the poverty-stricken family into chaos.
Zainab Bibi, who lost her husband 10 days before giving birth to the twins: said: “It’s getting tougher day by day to take care of them.
“They cannot move where as children of their age sit and crawl.
“The increase in their weight has made it difficult for me to carry them and I don’t understand what to do in future.
“Although there are no medical difficulties at present but I am afraid of their future.
“I’m afraid that my daughters will have to live a miserable life if they are not separated before it’s too late.”
Since their birth the family claims several people including members of the Pakistan government promised them help but to no vail.
Their maternal grandfather, Muhammad Sadiq, said: “Since the birth of Safa and Marwa lot of people promised us that they will sponsor their treatment. Some members of the government even told us that they will send them abroad, if surgery for such a condition can not be performed in Pakistan.
“A medical board was constituted at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad to help chalk a plan together for an operation.
“We stayed there for several months but nothing happened but then we were told the surgery can not be performed here.”
However, the mother of the seven children, Zainab is hopeful of their bright future if Pakistan government comes forward for help.
“I demand Pakistan govt to come forward and help my poor daughters.
“If treatment for such a condition is not possible in Pakistan, I request the government to take my daughters to any foreign country where such cases have been successfully operated.
Craniopagus Twins is a phenomenon that occurs just once in every 2.5 million births.
Around 40 per cent of these kind of twins are stillborn. Of those that survive, a third die within 24 hours of birth.
If craniopagus twins survive to that point, there is still an 80 per cent risk they would die before the age of two if they are not separated.
Separation means one or both of the twins may suffer developmental complications.
Usually the twins would share brains and have completely separate organs, but in this instance, the pair each have their own brain.