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Abandoned At Birth For Having Spina Bifida

By November 21, 2022No Comments3 min read
Abandoned At Birth For Having Spina Bifida

 Abandoned at birth for having  Spina Bifida, John ended up in a care institution.   Spina Bifida is a birth defect in which  an area of the spinal column does not form properly. A section of the spinal cord and spinal nerves get exposed through an opening in the back. 


His mother wrapped him in baby clothes and left him along a busy street in Nairobi. Well-wishers found him and took him into a care institution. This became his home. John did not get a chance to meet his mother.


His mother allegedly abandoned him for two reasons. First, she was a teenage mother. Being a teen mom is hard. If it comes with a disabled child, it can become too much to bear. His mother faced a lot of challenges among them being; loss of opportunity, stigma and rejection, poverty and mental health challenges. 


Adding a disabled child to the equation might have been so hard for her. Secondly, giving birth to a disabled child might have been scary for her that she decided to abandon him at birth. Society frowns upon disability. A lot of stigma and lack of information are the main problems. In the 1980s, no one wanted affiliation to disabled individuals.

With no proper education and probably coming from a poor background, John’s mother felt like she didn’t have a choice. In an interesting turn of events, John was not able to access treatment until 11 years after.  One would expect that corrective surgery as a measure of early intervention and therapies would be the immediate step. Sadly, he didn’t receive help until one decade later.


Where there is a will, there is a way

Despite being abandoned at birth for having Spina Bifida, John was determined to make things work for him.

In the care institution, John met other children living with disabilities. Life was hard for him and he had to step up and assist the already understaffed staff. He helped nurse and feed the children. He did their laundry and his. Sometimes when he was admitted in hospital, his guardians would forget to discharge him in time. He would spend a few extra days in hospital helping nurses to take care of other patients.


These circumstances fired his passion for medicine. John pursued nursing and midwifery in college and is now practicing in a government in Nairobi.  However, John hasn’t been lucky enough to meet his mom. He was reintegrated into the society after outgrowing the care institution.  outgrew the care 

He married  his wife who is also a nurse. Additionally, in his free time, he advocates for individuals living with mental disabilities. The Geuza Wazo team met him while working on a project involving Access to justice for people living with disabilities.



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