Speaking to BBC after the operation, Emmanuel Ameh, the lead surgeon said the operation to separate Goodness and Mercy Martins at the chest and abdomen took place in November and the two sisters were now well enough to go home, but admitted that the process was very complicated, lasting for 12 hours with 78 doctors involved. The operation cost the family about $55,000 (£42,000),
But because the children’s parents Martin and Maria Edeh could not afford to pay the doctors for their services, the doctors did it for free, the operation took place at the National Hospital Abuja.
The couple had first brought their daughters to hospital in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, in August 2018 just after their birth. But the doctors couldn’t operate on them immediately as they were not well enough.
They were cared for at the government-owned hospital for the next 15 months and their strength built up over time. The green light was then given for the operation.
Jaff Momoh, the hospital’s medical director, said, there were 11 previous cases of this kind over the last 20 years but that this case stood out as it was the first time an operation had involved the lower chest wall, liver and diaphragm.
Mr. Martins and his wife expressed happiness and relief to have had their babies separated and well, thanking the hospital staff for their kindness.
The minister of health has visited the hospital to praise the efforts of the medics and meet the family – and the women’s affairs minister has promised to give Mrs. Martin a job to help the family.