BY Daily Monitor,
There was joy when Everline Namukhula, the 28-year old woman from Kakamega County in western Kenya delivered her five pre-term babies at Kakamega County Referral Hospital.
Twenty-six days later, the joy has been wiped out after Namukhula from Shisokhe Village in Navakholo Sub-county, died from a complication at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret yesterday.
The woman, a mother of four other children, was married to Emmanuel Wanjala, who is deaf and fends for the family by doing odd jobs in the village.
After giving birth to the quintuplets, Ms Namukhula was overcome by joy: “I am so happy and grateful to God for having given me these five children at ago. I am now having a total of nine children because I have four other children at home. My first born is 10 years old and is in class two.”
She died after she complained of chest pains and persistent headache on Saturday night, forcing doctors to put her on anti-biotic and a blood clot test.
The hospital director, Dr Wilson Aruasa, yesterday said the mother suffered pulmonary embolism, basically a blood clot which blocked blood vessels in her lungs.
“This [yesterday] morning , doctors recommended a CT Scan to identify the spot of the blood clot. Immediately after the scan, she vomited, started sweating and had difficulty in breathing before collapsing,” Dr Aruasa said.
He said the deceased was rushed to a semi-intensive care unit, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
“Initial tests confirmed that her heart was enlarged and some fluids had formed around it. We can’t determine what happened but a post-mortem examination will confirm. For now, we can’t say much. Let’s allow the family to grief,” Dr Aruasa said.
He said two boys of the five children, who have been undergoing special care, died last week following complications.
“The remaining three girls are doing well and under special attention by our nurses,” Dr Aruasa said.
The five babies were born on March 10 at Kakamega County Referral Hospital and were referred to MTRH for specialised care after they developed breathing complications.
The babies were being fed on breast milk expressed from the mother by cups and spoons. In her culture, it is a bad omen to breastfeed all the five babies.
The nursery manager of the Newborn Unit at the hospital, Ms Eveline Mvungu, said the babies and the mother were expected to stay in hospital for the next two or three months.
The mother had been undergoing physiotherapy to support her to walk, after losing a lot of blood while giving birth.
“She has also been on a balanced diet because she did not feed well during her pregnancy,” Dr Philip Kirwa, who is the director of Reproductive Health at the maternity wing, said.
He said they had put the survival chances of the quintuplets at 50-70 per cent.
He added that the lightest baby weighed 820 grams while the heaviest had 1.6 kilogrammes at birth.
“We’ve been supporting their breathing through a ventilator, we are also expanding their lungs to ensure they breath properly,” he said.
Expected three but got five babies
In a past interview, shortly after giving birth, the deceased said: “In one of the clinic sessions, I was told I was carrying three children. I never expected to deliver five children.”
The children weighed between 820 grammes and 1.6 kilogrammes, instead of the 3.5kilogramnmes, which is required of a normal baby at birth.
Ms Namukhula had appealed to well-wishers to help her fend for the children, saying her husband is deaf with no stable employment that can sustain the family.
She said: “We are financially challenged but God has blessed us with this high number of children. I request the government, leaders and well-wishers come to our aid so that we cater for them.”
While giving birth
Dr Githinji Ndung’u, one of the doctors who assisted her to deliver the five children, said they received a referral from Navakholo with a woman suspected to be carrying three children.
“On examination, we realised they were more than three and were not well positioned. We were forced to conduct a caesarean birth at 8pm. That is when we realised that she was carrying five children. She delivered them all,” said Dr Githinji.