Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 6th 2018 Contents RADHICA DE SILVA
Cattle herder Ashbar Ali, whose
cow Shiny gave birth to triplets in
a rare single birthing, says he is
willing to share his knowledge of
animal husbandry to the Univer-
sity of the West Indies.
Ali, of Realize Road, Barrack-
pore, said it is not the irst time
he has assisted the university
with research having supplied
bison milk for a project several
years ago. The rare birth which
experts say is the irst of its kind
in the Caribbean occurred on De-
cember 29 and since then Ali has
been working around the clock
to ensure that the calves and
their mother are comfortable.
In an interview yesterday, Ali
said, "I have to bring grass for
Shiny to eat so that she could
produce enough milk for them."
The young calves gambolled
around during the interview and
one of them ventured closer to
suck this reporter's ingertips.
Since their birth Ali said he has
already spent $1,200 in supple-
ments for the animals. The calves
have been suckling but as they
grow it will be dif icult for Shiny
to produce enough milk to sus-
Asked about his methods in
cattle rearing, Ali said his ten
cows and eight bisons were pas-
"Every day I visit them, at least
twice per day. I talk to them," Ali
said. He added that the animals
are not fed grain but eat grass.
The female cows are given arti i-
cial insemination by the Ministry
of Agriculture and like Shiny they
all give birth out in the ields.
Ali said when Shiny was im-
pregnated, she did not have an
unusual sized belly.
"She did not even look as if
she full," he joked. He said she
was due to give birth in January
but on December 29, two weeks
before her due date, he went to
the pasture and saw four of them
looking up at him.
"I was so surprised I had to
sit down for 15 minutes. I could
not believe that she gave birth to
three calves," Ali recalled. When
he called his wife Maria to tell
her the good news she did not
believe him at irst.
"Only when they came down
to the pasture and they saw her
with them that Maria believed
me," Ali laughed. He said since
the strange occurrence, some
people have accused him of
being dishonest about the birth.
"They think I buy two young
calves but anyone who doesn't
believe me can come and see
them for yourself. Each of them
nursing from the mother," Ali
said. Two of the calves are iden-
tical with a white heart shaped
spot on their head while the
other has a thin zigzag line which
Maria said reminds her of Harry
Potter. Ali said although Maria
has started call;calling the calf
Harry he did not think it was ap-
propriate as all of the calves are
Maria said they usually name
the animals based on their char-
She said Shiny had an unusu-
ally shiny coat and that was how
she got her name.
Veterinary surgeon and former
government minister Dr Glenn
Ramadharsingh examined the
animals yesterday and gave them
all a clean bill of health.
"This is a signi icant historic
breakthrough in animal produc-
tion. This is history as it is the
irst time that a cow has given
birth to three healthy calves.
Ashbar Ali has nursed this animal
through its pregnancy. His farm-
ing practices must be studied.
The UWI should be here and the
scienti ic community should con-
verge at Realize Road to examine
the blood parameters, the hor-
mone levels of these animals. Let
us see what are the old school
methods he used because this is
something unique that must be
He said the last time this hap-
pened worldwide was in Mexico
Ramadharsingh called on the
Government to subsidise Ali for
his expenses adding that the an-
imals should be adopted by the
scienti ic community.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Doctors save Miracle from going blind
Having never seen outside the
San Fernando General Hospital,
two-month-old Miracle was at risk
of going blind.
And with a cost of the sight-sav-
ing surgery ranging between
$100,000 and $200,000, it would
have been dif icult for her 17-year-
old mother and family to raise
the money in 72 hours. Miracle is
not the baby's legal name but it is
what she is called by her grand-
mother until she is registered.
It was on Wednesday while
head of the Ophthalmolo y Dr
Anil Armoogum was performing
a routine screening on Miracle,
who was born at seven months,
that it was found that she was suf-
fering from a severe case of Retin-
opathy of Prematurity (RoP).
RoP is a condition that occurs
in premature babies whereby ab-
normal blood vessels grow in the
retina, the layer of nerve tissue in
the eye that enables someone to
see. The growth can cause the ret-
ina to detach from the back of the
eye, leading to blindness.
Armoogum said that at least
one in 10 premature babies are
affected by the condition with
only one in 20 needing treatment.
But given the amount of bleeding
in Miracle's eyes, she was already
Armoogum, the consultant on
the surgery, said that given the
severity, he was liaising with a
colleague, Dr Ronnie Bhola, a Vit-
reoretinal Surgeon with Trinidad
Eye Hospital, a non- pro it organ-
Given the severity of Miracle's
condition and the need for a
highly specialised surgery, Bhola
said he had to assist to ensure the
child's chance of sight. While he
could have made a good earning
from such a procedure, it was
done free of charge.
He explained that because
Miracle was born prematurely,
her retinas did not fully develop,
"If not treated in a timely fash-
ion, all babies go blind within
72 hours of diagnosis. The baby
was screened on Wednesday and
treated within 48 hours," Bhola
With ive departments needed
to give Miracle the chance of a
normal life; Neonatalo y, Oph-
thalmolo y, Anaesthetics, the In-
tensive Care Unit and Paediatrics,
the South West Regional Health
Authority (SWRHA) postponed all
elective surgeries until Monday to
accommodate this case.
For two hours, tiny Miracle en-
dured an indirect laser surgery
and intravitreal injections to cor-
rect her condition. She will spend
the next 24 hours in the Intensive
Miracle's family declined to
speak, but was grateful for the
babe being given a chance of a
normal life. SWRHA CEO Gail
Miller-Meade said Bhola's inter-
vention in to assist the hospital
free of charge was just one of sev-
eral partnerships they are hoping
to build in 2018.
Members of the specialist medical team who saved a seven-month-old
baby's eyesight at the San Fernando General Hospital, yesterday. From left
are Kamal Sookdeo, Gale Richards, Sherlene Siu, Kaliffa Seunath,
vitreoretinal specialist Dr Ronnie Bhola, SWRHA CEO Gail Miller-Meade,
head of ophthalmology SFGH Dr Anil Armoogum, Dianne Saunders, Wendy
Jaggernauth and Kellysha Nelson.
PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Shiny gives birth to triplets
Ashbar Ali left and his wife Maria with their cow Shiny and her three calves at their Realize Road, Barrackpore home
yesterday. The calves were born on December 29, 2017.
PICTURE KRISTIAN DE SILVA
Cattle herder becomes world famous as...
RADHICA DE SILVA
The Cedros Nurses quarters,
built two years ago to house
medical personnel, burnt to
the ground in an apparent elec-
trical ire yesterday evening.
And as residents watched the
building go up in flames, many
expressed fear that medical
emergencies would go unat-
tended unless a new arrange-
ment was put in place to house
displaced nurses and doctors.
The ire started around 1.30
pm but it was more than an
hour later that the ire ighters
arrived to put out the blaze.
By then the entire building
was destroyed. Councillor for
Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh
said all patients and staff had to
be evacuated from the nearby
Cedros Health Centre.
He said there was a power
failure and when electricity
was restored, the ire started.
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