Although many mothers giving birth will always feel joy to hold twins in their hands, quadruplets come with a huge burden, not only in taking care of them, but dressing and feeding them too.
Often times, a mother’s breasts are not enough to supply quadruplets with adequate milk, thus increasing economic challenges to the family.
On January 29, this year, Beatrice Mbawala (42) was put to bed at the Aga Khan hospital in Dar es Salaam where she later gave birth to quadruplets born at 29 weeks, forced 11 doctors and nurses to team up to save them and their mother.
Beatrice told the Guardian that she knew she was going to have quadruplets at eight weeks’ pregnancy after she had undergone ultrasound check-up.
“Recalling how my first born pregnancy made me so tired, I wondered how I would be able to cope with these four children in my womb?” she said, putting a shy smile on her face.
She said she underwent counseling, with doctors encouraging her never to be afraid as it was very normal… as all was needed was to ensure doctors’ directives were followed.
“I really thank God for the blessings and the good care I received from doctors and nurses, including the entire hospital staff,” she said.
Now, she says she has to face parental expenses as she will need three house helps to take care of her babies named Peter, Paul, Precious Helen and Princess Ester.
Her husband, Julius Shauritanga, said the babies were a great blessing to them and they were happy to have the quadruplets.
He said there however that there was a need for the government to review some laws so as to recognize the burden of raising quadruplets.
According to him, maternal leave should be extended to more than 100 days for twins.
According to a neonatologist at the Aga Khan hospital, Dr Abdalallah, it was quite rare for premature quadruplets to survive, saying doctors and the entire Aga Khan team had to put up effort to save them.
“Each one of the four babies weighed less than 1.5 kilogrammes,” Dr. Abdalallah said.
A World Health Organization (WHO) report says that children born with less than 28 weeks have a 90 per cent chance of dying in developing countries, and 10 per cent in developed countries.
The neonatologist explained that “during delivery, a team of three paediatricians, four medical officers and four nurses joined forces to ensure that the mother and babies came out safe.”
Dr. Yaser said the doctors and nurses made great effort to ensure that the lives of the children and their mother were saved.
He added: “Getting premature quadruplets is a big challenge to the relevant hospital because it should have good specialist doctors and sufficient equipment in order to care for the children properly.”
According to the doctor, premature babies were at risk of getting infected, so they needed to be deployed in a specialized incubator for them to grow well.
The neonatologist said it needed four nurses to care for the premature babies because such children had many challenges including water loss, so they needed to be closely attended to.
“In order to serve more lives of premature babies in the country the hospital has requested the government to waive tax on incubators and other materials used for taking care of premature babies in order to make the service freely available,” he said.
For his part, a gynaecologist at the hospital, Dr. Miriam Mgonja, said most of the time such cases involved many complications during delivery, which accounted for the big team of specialized doctors and nurses.
Dr. Mgonja called on the government to equip various hospitals in the country, especially in rural areas, with equipment to take care of premature babies, thereby saying no to premature death.
Head of Nursing Service at the Hospital Lucy Hwai explained that on January 29 they had to work faster and great effort for the sake of the mother’s and the babies’ lives.
“What helped us to achieve this feat is the availability of adequate facilities in our hospital,” head of Nursing Service explained.