“We plead with the public to come to our aid. We need help to raise these babies God has blessed us with,” the family said.
To assist this family, kindly pay into this Account no. access bank. 0805254888 . pttw
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Seven years after her fourth child was born and with a decision jointly made with her husband to stop childbearing, 37-year-old Muslimat AbdulWaheed has again been delivered of quadruplets.
The couple who reside in Gwako, a suburb of Gwagwalada area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, said they could barely feed their family of six, hence the decision to stop giving birth.
The husband, Ibrahim Abdulwaheed, a technician, said he does not get work often in Gwako, a timid settlement in Nigeria’s capital, while the wife lost her provision shop to flooding in 2020.
So, an addition to the family will only worsen their precarious situation.
However, for the one time the family could not afford monthly N500 contraceptive pills, the wife got pregnant and eventually gave birth to quadruplets on November 11, leaving her with eight children to cater for.
Mrs Abdulwaheed is among 9.5 million of the 45 million women of reproductive age in Nigeria that want to avoid a pregnancy but couldn’t due to several factors which include poverty.
This results in the increasing rate of unintended pregnancies which can lead to unsafe abortions that account for five to 13 per cent of all maternal deaths and unplanned births.
Although the Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint, 2020-2024, outlines the country’s plans for achieving a revised target modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) of 27 per cent by 2024, funding remains inadequate to cover the unmet need for family planning services.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.
But for Musilimat Abdulwaheed, making that choice only depends on how long she can afford them.
Family planning ordeal
One dollar! That’s the cost of the monthly contraception used by Mrs Abdulwaheed to keep herself from getting pregnant. With several other competing bills, coughing out that monthly bill was tough.
Since the birth of her fourth baby, for six years, the wife managed to stay on birth control pills but things took a further downward turn for the family.
The Abdulwaheeds lost their home and provision store to a flood incident that occurred within Gwako community mid-2020.
“Between May and June, 2020, a heavy flood destroyed our home, my provision store and swept away everything we had,” Mrs Abdulwaheed said.
“Following this, we sold the woods from the already destroyed home and rented a one room apartment for N24,000,” she said.
Mrs Abdulwaheed said she started finding it more difficult to buy the pills and eventually early 2021, she gave in to pressure.
“Early this year, there was no money for the pill and me and my husband could not afford to stay away from each other,” the 37-year-old woman said.
Lack of funds to get contraceptives forced Mr Abdulwaheed to adopt the withdrawal method.
Sometimes called the “pull out method” or “coitus interruptus,” the withdrawal method is a technique involving withdrawing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation to avoid pregnancy.
This is not considered a very effective method of birth control as it comes with an attendant risk of sexually transmitted disease.
Also, many doctors advise that the method is very risky if one is actively trying to avoid pregnancy in particular.
They say this is because prior to male orgasm and ejaculation, there is a small amount of pre-ejaculate semen that is released, which contains sperm.
“Even this small amount of semen can still lead to pregnancy if you are ovulating,” a medical practitioner said.
Meanwhile, by the last week of March, Mrs Abdulwaheed said she noticed her period had been late for weeks.
Still unaware of her condition, she took ill that same period and was rushed to the community health centre where it was confirmed that she was pregnant.
This news was a mixed grill of a gift and an unexpected responsibility, said Mr Abdulwaheed.
Considering their economic condition, the couple opted to abort the pregnancy.
“Earlier this year, the wife was rushed to my house unconscious and afterwards, a laboratory investigation confirmed that she was pregnant. Although she insisted on aborting it, I declined because it is against my religion,” a community health practitioner, Aminat Babalola, said.
Ms Babalola said she, however, said she decided to agree to the woman’s demand and attempted the abortion.
“I told her I would do the abortion because I was worried she’d go and do it somewhere else and probably endanger her life.
“I kept treating her for her illness but told her to give me one month to complete the abortion process,” she said.
The story, however, took a turn when the wife observed an increasing protrusion of her belly and confronted the caregiver for failing to abort the pregnancy for her.
“She was crying that she could not take care of any additional child. She said I should have told her I couldn’t abort the baby so she could go elsewhere. But at this point, we didn’t know she was carrying quadruplets,” Ms Babalola said.
At the time, the N24,000 paid by Mr Abdulwaheed for their one-room apartment had expired and the family was thrown out of the house, rendering them homeless.
Ms Babalola said the whole family of six eventually moved into her apartment to live.
She said a scan later revealed that Mrs Abdulwaheed was carrying four Foetuses. “At this point, she was devastated and her blood pressure shot up above 200. She cried everyday after discovering she would be having quadruplets,” Ms Babalola said.
“Even to get treatment at the specialist hospital was a big problem for us because I tried my best to help the family but at a point, I had nothing left,” she said, adding that; “I’m happy we have the babies today and they are all healthy. We appeal to Nigerians to support these babies in any way possible.”
Cry for help
Ms Babalola said she reached out for help from a pharmacist in Gwako who introduced them to the chairman of El-Hussain specialist hospital, Dakwa, Dei-Dei, Hassan Zakari.
“I accepted them into my hospital after a friend called me for help. I directed the CMD of this hospital to take care of them and provide all medical care needed free of charge,” Mr Zakari said.
He said since Mrs Abdulwaheed was brought in about four months ago, she received antenatal care and delivered her babies without any bills.
The hospital’s chief medical director (CMD), Barau David, said: “We encouraged her not to terminate the pregnancy and promised to take responsibility for the antenatal care through delivery
“We managed her until 34 weeks and scheduled her for an elective Caesarean Section and the babies were delivered successfully.”
Mr Zakari said the hospital cannot care for the family forever so they would be discharged soon.
He, however, said an appeal fund was launched to support the mother and babies to have a home to return to.
“We have tried our best but at this point we have to discharge them soon. Unfortunately, the family doesn’t have to go. They cannot even pay for the N24,000 apartment they rented in Gwagwalada where they were kicked.
“We decided to launch an appeal fund so that the mother and babies have a home to return to, food to eat and clothes to wear,” the doctor said.
Mrs Abdulwaheed is appealing to the general public to support her family to take care of the newly born quadruplets.
“I cannot take care of them, my husband has no job, we are homeless, no food to eat so it makes no point bringing them to this world.
“I plead with the public to come to our aid. We need help to raise these babies God has blessed us with,” she said.