Philomena was diagnosed with ARM at birth. With this condition, the little one was found to lack an anal opening and instead was passing stool through her vagina. A few hours after birth, Philomena, one in a set of twins, was noted to have a distended abdomen. The doctor quickly checked on the baby and discovered she lacked an anal opening. To keep Philomena from getting a fistula, the doctors put in a colostomy at three days. Philomena’s parents paid for this through some family savings they had. When they left for home, Philomena’s twin sister developed a persistent cough which was later found to be a hole in the heart.
"I have never felt this drained ever in my life. Since I gave birth I am always in hospitals with either one of my two babies,” says Philomena’s mother. Due to lack of finances, Philomena’s parents shared their plight with their church members and one of them advised that they visit Watsi Partner Care Center BethanyKids Hospital. At BethanyKids a surgery to create an anal opening has been recommended.
If not treated, Philomena will not lead a normal life and will be forced to use a colostomy for life. The surgery is a cost Philomena’s parents cannot bear.
Philomena’s father is a carpenter while her mother closed her grocery store to tend to the children. Together they have five children with three currently in school. With very limited income and having exhausted their savings, Philomena’s parents are not able to raise the funds needed. They had defaulted on paying the national health insurance premiums as they could not keep up, but they’ve been advised to try to maintain this coverage in the future given their family's health needs.
“Please help us. It is quite a stressful time for us but we believe we will come from it as victors,” says Philomena’s mother.