Twins making good progress following operation at Centurion hospital to separate them

The conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane

Monday, January 30 2017

The conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, from Big Bend in Swaziland who underwent a successful six-hour separation operation last Saturday, are in a stable condition in the paediatric intensive care unit at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion, Pretoria.

Dr Marleen Engelbrecht, the paediatrician who is responsible for their care at the hospital, says that she is gratified with the progress that the twins, who were born prematurely at 36 weeks, have made since their surgery. “Uwenzile and Uyihlelile are no longer being fed intravenously and their bodily functions are all working healthily,” she reported.

Pic: Nineteen-year-old Bongekile Simelane, mother of conjoined twins Uwenzile and Uyihlelile who were recently separated at Netcare Unitas Hospital, watches over her babies in the paediatric intensive care unit at the hospital. 

Dr Engelbrecht pointed out that the operation was a major one for the two tiny babies and they are still being ventilated and closely monitored. Paying tribute to the nursing professionals and support staff in the paediatric intensive care unit “who have embraced the family and have as always gone well beyond the call of duty in caring for their young charges. We are all looking forward to the twins getting to a stage where their doting parents can hold them,” she added.


Pic: Enrolled Nurse Portia Mabuela (left) offers some caring support to mother, Bongekile Simelane, and father, Mbongeni Sihlongonyane, of conjoined twins Uwenzile and Uyihlelile, who were recently separated by a specialist team at Netcare Unitas Hospital.

Parents, Bongekile Simelane and Mbongeni Sihlongonyane are happy and relieved that the operation has been successfully completed and that their precious twins are recovering well. The Swaziland Government’s Phalala Fund is funding the twins’ medical care. Dr Tony de Coito, managing director of Healthshare Health Solutions, which administers the fund for the Swaziland Ministry of Health, said they were delighted that the procedure to separate Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane went well.

“We are thrilled that the twins are making good progress, but having been born prematurely and undergone a major surgery, they still have a long road to go to full recovery. We are pleased that we were able to assist the family and find them such outstanding medical care in South Africa,” Dr De Coito added.

“I would like to thank the doctors, nursing and support staff who were involved in the operation and in the follow-up treatment and care of the babies.”

Netcare Unitas Hospital’s general manager, Robert Jordaan, said that the hospital would update the public once the twins were transferred to the general paediatric ward.


 Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Unitas Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected]