A private hospital in Gabon held a baby for 5 months over unpaid bills after her delivery by her parent. The mother of the baby, Sonia Okome, was overjoyed as the baby was eventually released after the intervention of some people in the country.
Baby Angel’s mother told reporters that her milk had run dry after being separated from the child for the first five months of her life.
The case shocked the country, and she gained much public support.
The bill of 2 million CFA ($3,630; £2,610) was paid after a campaign was launched on the family’s behalf. And it was surprising that the case even got to the President of the country, President Ali Bongo, and he also contributed to the bill
It was reported that the director of the clinic was arrested on Monday on baby-kidnapping charges, but the charges were dropped a day later.
Angel was finally allowed to leave the hospital, which is north of the capital, this week.
The baby’s mother, in her words, explained on how she felt so relieved after being separated from her baby for that long time. According to her, it was a bittersweet experience:
“I’m happy to have my baby back. But I’m sorry that I can’t breastfeed her because after five months all my milk has gone.”
She also complained that the baby had not been given any vaccines.
The bill charged on the parent, was for the 35 days Angel spent in an incubator after she was born prematurely.
Gabon, located on the west coast of Africa, is one of the region’s more stable countries.
Since independence from France in 1960, Gabon has had just three presidents. Late President Omar Bongo ruled for more than four decades until his death in 2009.
The country is a major oil producer but majority of it population live in poverty, according to the World Bank.