We catch up on the life of the coast’s “820 grams miracle”

Sharlien Tjambari

On Tuesday 13 June 2000 a baby was born at Swakopmund’s Cottage Private Hospital (today known as the Cottage MediClinic). Babies are born every day, so what is so special about the birth of this particular baby?

The answer to this question lies in the edition of namib times, 23 June 2000: the baby weighed only 820g and was the tiniest ever born at the coast. What makes this more of a miracle is the fact that this tiny baby survived against all the odds and grew into a strong young man.
With the newspaper celebrating its 60th anniversary tomorrow (5 December) we traced this young man who made the effort to travel all the way from Keetmanshoop in Southern Namibia for an interview and for…. updated pictures for the only picture we have on re-cord of him shows him in an incubator in the Cottage Hospital’s paediatric ward’s intensive care unit:
“Wonder Baby”, Gangan Gorren Gomachab was born on 13 June 2000 at Cottage Private Hospital and weighed 820g at birth. The baby was delivered by Dr Matti Kimberg, a well-known gynaecologist.
Gangan was the first ever wonder baby to be born at the Coast. Gangan was born at six months and kept in an incubator for close to one month before his parents, Lisema Alma Gomachas and Robert Gomachab, could take their little wonder bundle home.
“We never had the opportunity to hold him in our hands on the day of his birth. I had to wait for three months to hold him in my hands, be-cause he was very, very tiny. After he was dis-charged from hospital, we had to travel to Swakopmund every week for his check-ups. We were living at Usakos back then, recalled Gangan’s father, Robert Gomachab, in the recent interview.
Premature babies face many complications, but they are strong and natural survivors. Robert Gomachab described his son’s upbringing as normal one. Apart from the first months after his premature birth, the rest of his upbringing was uncomplicated. Gangan had no further health-related issues, explained his father.
namib times also contacted Dr Kimberg who instantly recalled this special birth. He also ex-pressed his wish to meet Gangan at some point in time. “In 2000 at the Cottage hospital the survival of Gangan was a major achievement for us. It was a wonderful team effort.
It is exactly why I still carry out obstetrics (deliver babies) at my age, as I cannot stop to marvel at the wonders of life when I hold a new born in my hands”, said Dr Kimberg who several years ago relocated to Windhoek.
Adding, babies born with a disability or fighting to survive prematurity need extra love and affection from both parents. “I would love to see Gangan again, give him a big hug and talk about his plans and his life. A window opened to me in my childhood (age 12 at the time) that probably determined my course in life”.
“My parents were missionaries in the then Natal, at a mission hospital called Ekupumuleni. Circumstances allowed me to see a birth in a Zulu kraal delivered by a nurse/midwife. I wasn’t supposed to look, but how do you tell that to a 12-year-old? I have never lost that sense of wonder”, concluded Kimberg.
Gangan was told the story of his birth and he was shown photo-graphs, but he couldn’t believe it was him. “I kept on saying it wasn’t true and that was a “gogga” and not me. It never had any negative impact on me. I am ex-cited actually every time I am told the story, said Gangan during the re-cent interview.
Gangan’s was raised in Swakopmund and star-ted his first grade at Swakopmund Primary School (SPS). He attended at SPS up to Grade 7. The family then moved to Keetmanshoop where he continues with his secondary education. He has 6 siblings and says once he completes his school career, he would like to pursue studies in the field of Mining Engineering.
He too looks forward to meet Dr Kimberg.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login