Parents of Yemen conjoined twins worry only one will survive

Conjoined twins born sharing the same body but with their own heart, lungs and backbones face fight for survival

  • Twins Abdul-Khaliq and Abdul-Rahim were born conjoined at the neck in January
  • They are in an incubator in intensive care, currently in a ‘stable’ condition
  • Doctors said they need care outside of Yemen, a war-stricken country 

Parents of conjoined twins born in Yemen fear only one will survive as doctors say they need medical treatment abroad.

The twins, Abdul-Khaliq and Abdul-Rahim, were born in January joined at the neck down, a condition known as parapagus dicephalus.

The phenomenon – with an incidence rate as little as one in every 100,000 births – doesn’t leave much hope for the survival of the babies.

They have spent their first days of life in an incubator in intensive care at Al-Thawra hospital, in Sana’a.

Doctors predict their health will decline unless they can be saved and moved away from the war-striken country. 

Abdul-Khaliq (right) and Abdul-Rahim (left) were born in January joined at the neck down

The babies have spent the first days of life in an incubator at Al-Thawra hospital, Yemen

Doctors fear for the babies’ survival as they have the condition parapagus dicephalus

The twins need to be moved outside of Yemen to receive the right care, doctors have said

The parents of the newborns live in a rural community on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital, according to doctors.

The father, Akram Ali Ahmed, 20, said that he does not want them to be separated and nor for one of them to die for the sake of the other. 

He said: ‘I want nothing to happen to my children. I don’t want them to be separated and nor for one of them to die for the sake of the other.

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‘I want them both in one body. I do not object to what God has given me.’

Faisal al-Babli, head of the children’s department at the hospital, said that the twins are fairly stable so far.

However, this is predicted to change as the hospital pleads for funding and assitance to move the children outside of Yemen. 

Yemeni doctor Faisal Al-Babli (right), head of children department at Al-Thawra Hospital, said the twins are stable so far

The parents of the babies, who live in a rural area, do not want one of the twins to die

The babies are currently in intensive care, but need extra care in fear of deteriorating 

The medical capabilities here are very poor, especially in light of the ongoing war, and the doctors fear the babies will not make it.

Dr al-Balbi said: ‘It is a unique case in Yemen – two children in one body with two heads, two hearts, two lungs, two stomachs and two backbones. They share only the pelvis and limbs of two hands and two legs.

‘Their health situation is fairly stable so far. They are sometimes given artificial respiration. 

‘We are currently looking for funding and assistance so that we can provide appropriate healthcare for their very critical health status and move them out of Yemen.

‘We hope that international organizations concerned with the health of children and newborns to help save this two-headed baby.’

Yemen is currently gripped by a civil war between Houthi insurgents, who control the capital, and the internationally-backed government.

The fighting has brought about a historic humanitarian crisis in the region as medical and food supplies have become scarce.

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