MARY GWERA Daily News, Saturday October 17, 2009 IT is already 12 years since Rehema Daruweshi, a blind woman, gave birth to a pair of twins and one of her new born babies was stolen before she was discharged from the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam. What Ms Daruweshi feels at present is total despair. She has lost hope of finding her daughter. It is now history ...there is no way I can find my child who was stolen the fifth day, since I gave birth to twin baby girls in 1997, she said. This is how Ms Daruweshi, who gave out a testimony in front of the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Prof David Mwakyusa, of how one of her twin daughters was stolen from the hospital, by an anonymous health attendant. She gave her testimony during a just-ended Second Popular Tribunal on Girls and Womens Lives, in line with Maternal Morbidity and Mortality, Wife Battery and Early Child Marriages, held at the Leaders Club in Kinondoni District in Dar es Salaam. It was in 1997 when I conceived and carried twin babies, according to an ultra sound results and clinical records, Ms Daruweshi remarked. She said during her labour pains she was taken to Amana District Hospital (ADH), but she was later on referred to the MNH due to pregnancy complications. Given the fact that the babies I was carrying in my womb were too big, the doctors at Amana Hospital decided to take me to MNH, where I delivered through surgery, she said. Ms Daruweshi, a mother of three said after she was operated on, the doctor congratulated her for getting twin baby girls. She says even though she was unable to see, she was so happy to get twins... I was also applauded by other women who gave birth the same day I did at the MNH, she said. The woman remembers hearing the women in the maternity ward saying, congratulations for getting beautiful twin baby girls. It is commonly known that a tag is placed on the wrist of every woman who gives birth in our hospitals, with a corresponding one on the babys ankle, to identify her as the mother because babies are kept far away from their mothers. This tagging is aimed to prevent mix up and facilitate closer supervision from the nurses, she explained. She said after giving birth, she was tagged on both wrists indicating that she was having two babies. Surprisingly, one nurse came to me on the fifth day and untied one of the tags, when I asked her why she was doing that she told me they had mixed up for I was not the one who had given birth to the twins, Ms Daruweshi lamented. According to her, she stayed in the hospital up to the seventh day, when they untied the operation wound and she was given only one baby. I stayed at the hospital for seven days and I was so surprised getting out of the hospital with only one baby, while I know I had given birth to two children. It really disturbed me, it still does because I do not know how and where to begin seeking for my lovely baby, she added. Ms Daruweshi, who is a primary school teacher at Tuangoma Primary School in Temeke District, said her family tried very hard to trace the stolen baby but in vain. I remember my grandmother came to pick me up from the hospital and she was so surprised to find me with one baby, as the whole family knew before that I was to give birth to twins, she explained. She further elaborated that efforts were made to get her clinic card but it was no where to be found. As a matter of evidence the order was given to find my clinic card but it was surprising that it was no where to be found, she said. According to her there were much efforts but all failed because she was unable to do anything by herself and her husband was not around at that time. By then, John Msenga, my husband, who is also a teacher at Wailesi Primary School was taking a course in Arusha, so I was alone and most of my family members are based upcountry, she remarked. Ms Daruweshi was born in Tabora and got her primary education at Furaha Primary School in that region, then after she went for her Ordinary Level in Korogwe District, Tanga Region. After completing Form Four, she went to Mpwapwa Teachers Training College in Dodoma Region, where she took a Diploma in Teaching. I started teaching in 1992 at Pungwe Primary School in Tanga. In 1993, I got married to Mr Msenga with whom I have three children - Julius, Salama, whose twin sister was stolen and Khairati, the last born, she explained. Salama, the twin who she was left with at the hospital, is now in Standard Six at Hekima Primary School in Temeke District. Ms Daruweshi calls upon the government to train special nurses, to give maternal services to mentally and physically impaired pregnant women including the blind. Most health workers and other people still have negative attitude towards disabled people. As for me, most nurses were surprised to seeing me pregnant. Am I not a human being, she wondered. Responding to Ms Daruweshis case, Prof David Mwakyusa called upon women to report such cases to relevant authorities immediately before it becomes too late. It is now impossible to get the child, as it is already a long time since the incident occurred. You should have reported this immediately for appropriate steps to be taken, he remarked. But the question remains, is it true nothing can be done to help the woman trace her stolen baby?