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Gabon: Clinic releases baby it detained for five months

A mother has been reunited with her baby after the hospital she gave birth in detained the child over her unpaid medical bills.

The Gabonese private clinic just north of the capital Libreville finally handed over baby Angel after a five month wait.

The clinic director had held the baby in an attempt to try to force the mother to pay the bill of two million CFA ($3,628; £2,612), because the baby was placed in an incubator.  The baby’s mother was not allowed during this period to visit and feed her baby. The mother, Sonia Okome, informed that she was so happy but cannot breastfeed her daughter because, after being separated for five months, she has stopped producing milk.

She also complained that the baby has not had any vaccines.

The clinic’s director was arrested on Monday and freed after 24 hours.

This story has a happy ending today because of a solidarity drive that caused many citizens in Gabon to mobilize funds to help the baby go back home to her mother. Even the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba contributed for the newborn return to her family.

This event dates back as far as September 25th 2017, when Sonia Okome brought forth a baby prematurely, after she was informed that her younger brother had died.  The baby was born in a university hospital in Libreville; the University Hospital Center Libreville, CHUL.  The baby weighed just 1.4 kg because she was premature, forcing the family to use an incubator, but then because incubators were no longer available at the university hospital they were forced to go to private clinic.

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