By Henry Iheanacho
A South African woman has given birth to a baby girl with a rare medical condition known as progeria, which causes children to age rapidly.
Progeria, also known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a progressive genetic disorder caused by a mutation (change) in the lamin (LMNA) gene.
The 20-year-old woman from Libode in Eastern Cape, delivered the baby girl at home two months ago.
Local mid-wives including the baby’s grandmother noticed that the newborn exhibited signs that were different from most babies. The little child’s ands are deformed and her skin wrinkled.
She is currently in the hospital with her mother.
“When she was in labour we called an ambulance but it took long to come. So she gave birth here at home. But the delivery got complicated and we hired a van to take her to hospital,” the grandmother said.
She added; “We were told there that she’s disabled. I noticed during her birth that there was something strange with her. She did not cry and she was breathing through the ribs. I was shocked because that was strange. Now I hear that people are calling her names. That hurts a lot. If I had means, I would put all of them in jail”.
Photos of the baby have been circulating on social media, generating mixed reactions as some mocked her while others sympathized with her.
Director of children’s rights organisation, Khula Community Development Project, Petros Majola, believes communities need to be educated about this condition.
“Communities must know that the mother did not apply for her baby to be like this. In a woman’s womb, there is no construction or factory that builds babies. People need to embrace this child for who she is,” Majola said.