Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Baby girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who are 11 months old, were separated on 15 August after four operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, in an operation funded by the charity Facing the World. Photo Credit: Courtesy Facing the World
Baby girls Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who are 11 months old, were separated on 15 August after four operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, in an operation funded by the charity Facing the World. Photo Credit: Courtesy Facing the World

Sudanese twins joined at head survive odds of 10 million to one

Successful surgery in London finally separates eleven-month-old conjoined twins after four months of treatment and four major operations.

LONDON // Sudanese twins joined at the head have overcome odds of 10 million to one by surviving a series of operations to separate them.

The eleven-month-old sisters Rital and Ritaj Gaboura appear to have suffered no neurological damage after months after complex surgical procedures.

The pair were finally separated in an operation last month at Great Ormond Street Hospital, a specialist children's hospital in London.

Brought to Britain from Khartoum by the British children's charity Facing the World, the girls had been born by caesarean section in October 2010 with the tops of their heads fused together.

Although only one in 10 million such twins survive such a condition, the surgeons at the hospital embarked on four months of treatment and four major operations to re-route blood supplies and nerves before the final procedure to separate the girls on August 15, the charity announced yesterday.

One of the problems confronting the doctors was that Ritaj was supplying half of her sister's brain with blood. Most of it was then draining back to her own heart resulting in her body doing most of the work for both of them.

"The incidences of surviving twins with this condition are extremely rare, said David Dunaway, a senior surgeon with the cranio-facial unit at Great Ormond Street and a trustee of Facing the World, yesterday. "The task presented innumerable challenges and we were all very aware of our responsibilities to the family and these two little girls.

"The Gaboura family have been extremely brave throughout a very stressful journey and their love for their children is clear to see. It is a testimony to the support of the British public that we are able to do any of the charity work that we do."

Their parents, Abdelmajeed Gaboura, 31, and Enas, 27, are doctors in Khartoum and they turned to the charity for help because they could not afford to pay for the complex surgery abroad that their daughters needed.

"We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls," the parents told the Mail on Sunday.

"We are very grateful to all the doctors who volunteered their time and to Facing the World for organising all the logistics and for paying for the surgery.

The charity, which depends on public donations, said that conjoined twins are only found in about one in 100,000 births, with only five per cent being joined at the head.

Dr Dunaway, who led the surgical teams involved in the separation procedures, will give further details on the ground-breaking techniques used at a news conference in London today.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National