For little Chidubem, five, life means a different thing right from birth. For him, life means one long night and day of misery and pain. While some are born into luxury and wealth, with perfect body and system; Chidubem was born into nottoo- rich home; and worst still, he was born with genital malfunction.
He was born without a penis! Medical doctors called it bladder extrophy, according to little Chidubem’s mother, Mrs. Grace Chijioke. “He (Chidubem) developed the problem from birth. They called it bladder extrophybladder outside the abdomen and penis not well formed. He is unable to urinate,” she said amid sorbs.
Then how does he urinate, being that no human being can survive without urinating? Mrs. Chijioke said that her son passes urine uncontrollably!
“The urine flows out uncontrollably, which made him to go on diapers 24/7,” she explained. The young mother, who holds National Diploma in Mass Communication from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu stated that immediately after he was delivered at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, and the congenital deformation was noticed, little Chjidubem was rushed to the Paediatric unit and booked for surgery, which was done five days after birth.
The doctors however said that several more surgeries would be carried out to finally correct the body malformation. Thus, another surgery was carried out one year after; and yet the third surgery on February 2017, according to the mother.
So far, the family had spent their life savings and even borrowed beyond their limit from friends, relations and the church, including free will donations. Meanwhile, after the last surgery on February 2017, the doctors said that there should be another surgery six months after.
But up till this moment, that fourth surgery is yet to take place, nearly two years after. The reason is that there is no money to undertake the surgery, which will cost N902, 000.00. And after the fourth surgery (which is yet to be done), there will still be fifth and sixth (final) surgeries.
The cost of the three remaining surgeries is put at N2.1 million. Mrs. Grace Chijioke is a teacher at a private primary school in Enugu. Her husband, Mr. Chijioke graduated from Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in 2010. He is a graduate of Meturlogical and Material Engineering.
The husband and wife hail from Nkerefi in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Nine years after graduation, Mr. Chijioke is yet to get a regular paying job, hence he engages taxi cab operation. Worst still, his cab broke down for some time now, rendering him completely jobless. Despite the family ordeal, Mrs. Grace Chijioke believes that God would still come to their rescue by healing their child, Chidubem, who has a younger sibling now, a boy. “Doctors assured us that the problem can be fixed in the country.
They said this is not the first case they are handling. But because surgery has been delayed due to lack of funds, it is now giving him (little Chidubem) serious pains,” she lamented. Mrs. Chijioke said that she once wrote to the Enugu State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development for assistance, which the Ministry probably referred to the state governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi. According to her, she one day received a call from the former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sam Ngwu, who said that the governor forwarded a letter to him to look into.
Ngwu directed Mrs. Chijioke to go to the hospital and get the cost of the remaining three surgeries, which she did and arrived at N2.1 million as at then. Dr. Ngwu later asked whether the surgery should be carried out in Nigeria or India, to which the woman told him that she was disposed to any decision of the government.
Strangely, however, the family could not get the required help as promised by the then Commissioner for Health. Mrs. Chijioke narrated to New Telegraph that when the current Commissioner for Health, Dr. Fintan Ekochin, took over in the Ministry of Health, she approached him but he told her that the Ministry of Health does not undertake that kind of ventures. She explained in pain that the family is now broken and have lost hope!
The family is still appealing to the State Governor, Ugwuanyi and the general public to come to their rescue to save the life of little Chidubem. M r s . Chijioke narrated amid sobs that the doctor handling the case at UNTH was very angry with the family for the delays. The doctor even booked the boy for surgery on January 8, an appointment that could not be met due to the inability of the family to raise the funds.
“There is nothing we can do,” she cries out, and pleaded with government and public spirited individuals, churches and organizations to come to their assistance.