A seven-year-old Pakistani girl is desperately waiting for a surgery to remove a lump bigger than a cricket ball that is protruding out of her belly button.
Fiza Channa has an umbilical hernia, which weighs more than 1kg (2.2lbs). She cannot walk or run like children her age or fit in clothes properly.
Her family say the condition is forcing the girl to live as a pariah as children in the neighbourhood make fun of her.
Fiza has an extreme case of an umbilical hernia, which are very common in babies born prematurely, as she was when her mother Kanwal, 27, was six months pregnant.
Now the girl, the first child to Kanwal and her husband Sami Ullah Channa, 28, from Karachi, is in extreme pain because it is growing at a fast pace.
Kanwal said: ‘Due to this hernia, my daughter can’t wear tight clothes. She can’t run or play like normal children.
Fiza Channa, from Karachi, has an umbilical hernia, which weighs more than 1kg (2.2lbs)
She cannot walk or run like children her age or fit in clothes properly (pictured with her father Sami Ullah Channa, 28)
WHAT ARE UMBILICAL HERNIAS?
A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall.
Umbilical hernias are very common in infants and young children, especially in babies born prematurely.
An umbilical hernia appears as a painless lump in or near the navel (belly button).
It may get bigger when laughing, coughing, crying or going to the toilet and may shrink when relaxing or lying down.
In many cases, the umbilical hernia goes back in and the muscles reseal before the child’s first birthday.
Umbilical hernias can also develop in adults. Without treatment, the hernia will probably get worse over time.
Source: NHS Choices
‘Her friends would make fun of her quite often and she would come back home crying and asking me to remove this hernia.
‘She has to live like a recluse. To see your child in such a condition is very painful for parents.’
It’s causing her ‘a lot of pain’
Fiza was born through a normal but premature delivery and has had this hernia since birth.
However, the lump which was very small in size has grown with time.
During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes through an opening in the baby’s abdomen (stomach). This opening should close shortly after birth, but in some cases the muscles don’t seal completely.
A weak spot
This leaves a weak spot in the surrounding muscle wall (abdominal wall). An umbilical hernia can develop when fatty tissue or a part of the bowel pokes through into an area near the navel.
Her family claim the condition is forcing the girl to live as a pariah as children in the neighbourhood make fun of her
Fiza has an extreme case of an umbilical hernia, which are very common in babies born prematurely, as she was when her mother Kanwal, 27, was six months pregnant
Kanwal said: ‘I was only six months pregnant when I delivered Fiza. It was a premature delivery.
‘She was very weak at the time of birth and was kept on ventilator for almost a week.
‘Since birth, she had this hernia on her belly button but it was small.
‘We are worried about our her condition and want it to be surgically removed as it is causing her a lot of pain.’
If necessary, umbilical hernias can be treated with surgery to push the bulge back into place and strengthen the weakness in the abdominal wall.
This operation may be recommended for a child if the hernia is large or hasn’t disappeared by the time they reach four or five years old.
Parents are usually advised to wait for their child to reach this age because the operation isn’t essential unless there are complications.
Fiza was born through a normal but premature delivery and has had this hernia since birth. However, the lump which was very small in size has grown with time
Fiza’s parents are hopeful that the hernia can be removed and she will lead a normal life like any other child, according to local reports
Unable to afford treatment
Six months ago, Sami Ullah and Kanwal moved to Karachi with Fiza and their newly born baby. The aim was to get their daughter treated in a bigger hospital.
Sami Ullah, who works as a rickshaw puller and earns the equivalent of £4 a day, said: ‘We have shown our daughter to several doctors in different government hospitals in Karachi.
‘They suggested several tests and medicines but were reluctant to give a date for surgery.
‘We can’t take her to any private hospital as we don’t have money for her treatment.’
A kind-hearted social worker
However, social worker Ali Mohammad, who lives in Karachi but hails from Sami Ullah’s hometown Dadu, has been able to help.
Ali has already taken Fiza to doctors at a private hospital in Karachi and has also launched a fundraising campaign for her treatment.
He told local reporters: ‘Two weeks ago, Fiza had serious breathing issues.
‘Her X-ray suggested that her chest was too congested that it could even led to bronchitis if timely medication was not started.
‘Doctors have given her medicines and told us they will perform her surgery, once her chest congestion is cleared.’
Fiza’s parents are hopeful that the hernia can be removed and she will lead a normal life like any other child.
Kanwal added: ‘She had a painful life so far but I wish everything goes well and the hernia is removed from her belly button so that he can go to school and play like normal children.’