The birth of a new child is a joyous moment.
And that was certainly the kind of elation that came with Ali Kayiranga when he arrived on earth just eleven days ago.
But that joy was short-lived as doctors immediately diagnosed baby Kayiranga with Transposed Great Arteries.
Immediately after birth, the handsome boy manifested strange behavior and breathing difficulties as his skin turned blue. The baby’s suffering dashed all his parents’ hopes that the third-born would grow into a healthy and productive son.
A dark cloud was all over Kayiranga’s parents from the moment they were informed that the baby had heart complication and was to be transferred to King Faisal Hospital-Kigali.
The father, Bernard Safari Kayiranga, said that prior to meeting doctors, he had little hope for his son’s survival, and added that what kept him going was that he had to keep fighting to save his son.
Born on September 30, Kayiranga was transferred to King Faisal Hospital on October 2, and was referred to the Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi who diagnosed him as a blue baby with Transposed Great Arteries also known as the transposition of the great vessels within the heart.
“Dr Mucumbitsi restored hope in me that something could be done and my son would live,” said Safari.
Dr. Thierry Sluysmans, a Belgian cardiologist who is on a voluntary mission to Rwanda, worked together with a team of Rwandan cardiologists to rescue the life of this innocent infant.
According to Dr. Sluysmans, transposition of the great arteries is a rare heart defect present at birth (congenital), in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed (transposed).
“It changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body. Without adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body can’t function properly,” said Sluysmans.
Transposition of the great arteries is usually detected within the first few weeks of life.
“Having a baby with transposition of the great arteries is naturally worrisome to a parent, but with proper treatment, the outlook is promising,” said the doctor.
The cardiologists managed to successfully perform the operation on October 10.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health who is also a pediatrician by profession, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, could not hide her excitement.
“This is a major breakthrough for Rwanda, the government did everything to see that we all celebrate the life of this boy,” she lamented.
As the baby’s father emphasized that there is a visual change on the child, doctors also confirmed the skin colour of the baby has turn from blue to pink and that the oxygen in the blood content has increased from 20% to 80%.