Cousin marriages: 3 siblings suffer from rare congenital bone disease

Doctors say the condition is incurable as the disease is genetic.

Kashif Zafar June 02, 2011


A woman has appealed to the chief minister for help because three of her seven children are suffering from a severe congenital disease.

Nazirabad Colony resident Imtiaz Bibi, has seven children and three of them have been suffering from a severe bone disorder.

“They have been suffering since they were children and the doctors said that they couldn’t do anything to solve the problem because the disease was genetic,” Imtiaz Bibi said.

Imtiaz Bibi’s husband Malik Allah Datta is a day labourer and earns Rs200 a day. “We can barely feed the entire family so it has been nearly impossible to pay my children’s medical bills. They can’t walk and their knees are locked,” he said. “They were born this way and we haven’t been able to find any cure. My children have been suffering and we have taken them to several doctors but they don’t know what to do,” he added.

Datta’s youngest son, Shah Zaib, 18, said that he was a matric student who had been suffering from muscular problems all his life. “When I was younger, I could still walk even though I had disjointed knees but now the disease has gotten much worse,” he said. Zaib added that the disease constantly made him feel weak and he could barely move now. “The illness has progressed to my spine and I can’t even move my neck properly,” he added.

Munaza, 26, said that she had been suffering from the same disease for the past ten years. “My growth stopped when I was thirteen and my legs began to bend unnaturally. Now, I can’t walk or move my left hand and it gets worse every year,” she said. Munazza said that she and her siblings suffered the most during winter season. “The problem gets much worse in the winter because our entire bodies hurt constantly,” she said.

Aisha, 27, told reporters that she had been born with the same condition as her siblings and could barely move. “My family has had a very hard time caring for us and supporting us despite the fact that they have no money. We cannot even help out,” she added. Imtiaz Bibi said that they visited the OPD twice a month but the doctors did not treat her children. “They keep ignoring us and turning us away,” she said.

QMC Medical College principal Dr Mazhar said that the reason doctors were unable to find a cure was because the disease was genetic. “This is a common occurrence in cousin marriages. Congenital diseases often crop up in these cases and all these children have malformed spinal chords and locked legs. It is a congenital bone disorder and we can’t cure it. All we can do is to provide them with medicines and we have done that,” he said.

Imtiaz Bibi and Allah Datta have appealed the president, the prime minister and the Punjab chief minister to help them afford treatment for their children.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2011.

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