The procedure to separate Joseph and Joshua, Zambian Siamese twins, piqued the interest of experts at University Hospitals (UTH) Zambia. How can two boys who have been linked at the belly and pelvis from birth live different lives? For these white jackets, the equation with numerous unknowns to solve is as follows. However, separating the lads would result in one of them losing a key portion of his lower body.
The Siamese twins, Joseph and Joshua, were born five months ago at the main hospital in Chipata, in the eastern region, and had to undergo a complex procedure to enable them to live independently.
However, the physicians in charge of the procedure at University Hospitals (UTH) are at a loss. In recent years, however, UTH has been successful in separating Siamese twins, with the most well-known instance being Mapalo and Bupe, two girls who were connected at the abdomen.
The two girls are currently living in a Luapula provincial orphanage in Kawambwa. After Bupe Mapalo’s case in 2018, UTH managed to separate three instances of Siamese twins, according to Dr. Amon Ngongola, one of seven pediatric surgeons in Zambia.
However, he claims that the most recent example, involving Joseph and Joshua, is rare and provides a larger challenge to doctors. ‘Most of them are united around the stomach, but this is a lot more complicated joint since it is attached not only at the level of the stomach but also at the level of the pelvis. It’s not as straightforward as the other interventions we’ve done,’ he said.
“We’ve had other Siamese twins, but this one is a lot more complicated since the surgical complexities are many, and the chances of complications are considerably greater than with Mapalo and the others.”
Doctors are currently determining the best choice for newborns and the operation’s viability. “We must search for methods to enhance their quality of life if after reviewing and deciding that the best thing to do is to leave them as they are, we must look for ways to improve their quality of life,” he continued.