By Latrishka Thomas
A two-week-old baby is in need of urgent medical care to correct an abnormality called imperforate anus as well as other serious conditions.
Jahliyah Forde was born on May 9 without an anus and is being cared for at the Sir Lester Bird Mount St John’s Medical Centre.
Her mother Simita Alexander – speaking on behalf of herself and the child’s father Jovorni Forde – told Observer that the condition seems to be coupled with other complications such as esophageal atresia – a birth defect in which part of a baby’s esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) does not develop properly.
“She was born without an anus and her lungs haven’t developed properly as yet. They have a feeding tube in her nose and they have IVs in her hand. They told me her spine hasn’t developed properly as yet and her heart is getting bigger as well,” Alexander explained.
And, despite being fearful that she could lose her first and only child, the 21-year-old mother said she is trying to stay positive.
She said, “It’s hard but we trying to make the best out of it because she’s been doing good so far and she is starting to breathe on her own.”
The young mother is calling for financial assistance so that her daughter can be flown to the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Jamaica for treatment.
“She is in need of emergency surgery. I would like the public to help me by donating to the GoFundMe page and also the donation sheet that’s been passing around in town,” she pleaded.
Alexander further indicated that, due to Jahliyah’s age, she will need to be transported via air ambulance which costs US$26,000.
And, in addition to that, she needs five surgeries which may cost an additional US$10,000.
Over the last five days the GoFundMe page – called ‘Baby Jahliyah’s medical expenses’ – has generated US$1,599.
Persons wishing to donate can call 784-5512 or 774-4307 or submit their donation to the online site.
Imperforate anus is a birth defect where the opening to the anus is missing or blocked. It is believed to be due to the abnormal development of the rectum when the embryo is forming inside the womb.
According to online sources, about half of all babies born with imperforate anus have additional abnormalities such as kidney and urinary tract defects, abnormalities of the spine, tracheal defects, esophageal defects, defects of the arms and leg, Down syndrome, congenital heart defects and more.
In a baby with esophageal atresia, the esophagus has two separate sections—the upper and lower esophagus—that do not connect. A baby with this birth defect is unable to pass food from the mouth to the stomach, and sometimes has difficulty breathing.