The plight of two brothers from Tempane in the Upper East Region with a rare condition that has completely immobilised their bodies is both sad and heartbreaking.
Since birth, the two young brothers – Yenkyela Mindom, 11, and Sanbir Mindom, 9, from Tubong, a deprived community at Kongo in the Tempane District, have suffered from the complete immobilization of their bodies rendering a major part of their bodies powerless.
The condition, aside from exposing them to other health risks that may spring from poor hygiene, has robbed the youngsters of the normal growing experience as they cannot move any part of their bodies except their necks and jaws. Their bodies from their shoulders down to their feet have been paralysed and become stiff.
Thus, they can neither move, sit up or lift a hand to help themselves such as to eat or to drive away harmful flies which have taken advantage of their immobility to attack them. All they can do with the assistance of family members is to lie prostrate, sideward or on their backs face up all day under a locally made thatch canopy in front of their house.
The sad state of the children is making life difficult for them and their family, who have done all within means, including seeking the help of deities to extricate the children from the unpleasant health condition.
Each day, the family lifts the children out of the house and places them on the bare ground under the canopy where they lie down on a spot till dusk. They are bathed, fed, and taken back into the house at dusk and the process continues the next morning.
The family says the routine is exhaustive as that has been the norm since the children were born.
“When it’s daybreak, we carry them from the room to here (referring to the shade of a locally erected thatch canopy) and they lie here till dusk until we take them back into the compound, bath them and lay them on their mats to sleep. It is something we have been doing since we gave birth to them”.
Mindom Duut, the 57-year-old father of the children told GhanaWeb’s Senyalah Castro who visited the family that his two sons make it three the number of family members who have suffered the condition.
He revealed that his first son, an elder brother to the two, also suffered the same condition before his demise a year ago.
Mr. Duut said he has gone everywhere his legs could carry him to look for good health for the children; adding that he has sold all his cattle and other small ruminants to raise money to seek medical care for the children at different facilities across the region but all have not added to the improvement of the health of his boys.
The distressed father said aside from losing all hopes of ever finding a cure for his children, he currently does not have the financial muscle to continue his quest for wellness for them.
“I have taken the children to clinics, hospitals, and even soothsayers to find cure for them but all my efforts and the money I spent on them have not brought any change in their condition. I don’t know what to do again. I don’t have money to even feed the family not to talk of what to use to continue looking round for help for my children. My only hope now is to pray and hope that God heals them to be like normal children”.
The tearful mother of the children, Yendukwa Mindom, said the family faces strong stigmatization from members of the community due to the condition of her kids. She said the community has labeled the plight of the children as a curse and does not want to associate with the family.
She said people have stopped visiting them and the few who visit the family do not accept to eat or drink water from them with the mind that they may get tainted with the curse.
She mentioned that taking care of the children has become their full-time job and that has affected the quality of life of the family as both parents are unable to go out and look for work to raise some income.
“We have sold all our properties but there is still no improvement in their health. Things are very bad now and we can’t even sleep or eat food. As a mother, I am always thinking about the children and what might have caused them the problem. I can’t do anything even work I can go and look for work because of them. I can’t go far away from them because I always to be around them to take care of them. We are really very worried and pray we find help some day”.
The parents have therefore appealed to benevolent individuals and organizations especially those with medical support to come to the aid of their children to give them a better life.
Meanwhile, the Assemblyman for the Kongo Electoral Area, Seidu Yakubu Lambon, has added his voice to the appeal by the family for support for the children.
He appealed to Non-Governmental Organizations such as the World Vision to come to the aid of the children and help improve their health condition.
The Assemblyman who supported the GhanaWeb team to locate the family of the children during the visit noted that life has become very challenging for the family and that any intervention by benevolent organizations would be very much helpful to the family and appreciated.
He appealed,” I want to appeal to the appropriate authorities and NGOs like World Vision and the rest to try and come to the aid of the children. If you see the house they are sleeping in, it is not very good. More to that, their school going too. All these things are challenges and they should come and help give them a good education. And also, their health condition. They should come and help them to be normal people like us”.
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