First Surviving Nonuplets Mark First Birthday

The world’s only nonuplets – nine babies born at the same time – are “in perfect health” as they celebrate their first birthday, their father has told the BBC.

“They are all crawling now. Some are sitting up and can even walk if they hold on to something,” said Abdelkader Arby, an officer in the Malian army.

The babies broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive.

Their father hinted that they are still in the care of the clinic in Morocco where they were born.

He said their mother Halima Cissé, 26, was also doing well.

Ahead of their birth on 4 May 2021 Cissé was flown to Morocco by the Malian government for specialist care as multiple births are risky and mothers with more than four foetuses at a time are advised to terminate in some countries where abortion is legal.

There are also risks the babies could develop health problems due to their premature birth, such as sepsis and cerebral palsy.

Mrs Cissé and the children are currently living in what their father described as a “medicalized flat” that belongs to the owners of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca where the babies were born.

Arby said it’s not easy but it’s great. “Even if it’s tiring at times, when you look at all the babies in perfect health, we’re relieved. We forget everything,” he said.

The father, who just returned to Morocco for the first time in six months, along with their elder daughter, Souda, aged three noting that he’s overwhelmed to be reunited with his family.

He explained that they just have a small birthday celebration with the nurses and a few people from their apartment building.

“Nothing is better than the first year. We will remember this great moment forever.”

According to the Malian Health Minister, Fanta Siby, the babies – five girls and four boys – were born at 30 weeks and weighed between 500g and 1kg.

Their boys are called Mohammed VI, Oumar, Elhadji, Bah, while the girls are named Kadidia, Fatouma, Hawa, Adama and Oumou.

Each one has a unique personality, their father said.

“They all have different characters. Some are quiet, while other makes more noise and cry a lot. Some want to be picked up all the time. They are all very different, which is entirely normal.”

Mr Arby appreciated the Malian government for its help.

“The Malian state has put everything in place for the care and treatment of the nine babies and their mother. It’s not at all easy, but it’s beautiful and something that is comforting,” he said.

They have not yet been to Mali, but they are already very popular in the country, their father said.

“Everyone is very keen to see the babies with their own eyes – their family, friends, our home village, the whole country.”

BBC/Cynthia Akere

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