Madagascar hospital successfully separates conjoined twins

Surgeons in Madagascar separated a pair of six-month-old conjoined twins who were connected at the stomach, sternum and liver, a hospital official said Thursday.

It took a team of 26 medical personnel nearly three hours to separate the boys, Laza and Dera Ramiadantsoa, who come from Talata Vohimena in the south-central part of the island nation.

"The operation was a success," said Mamy Lalatiana Andriamanarivo, the chief of pediatric surgery at Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona hospital.

"The babies are in . I don't know what will happen. I pray for them."

Such operations are rare in Madagascar. Andrianavalona said doctors had the skills to carry out the procedure, but often lacked the necessary medical equipment.

Conjoined twins are an extremely rare phenomenon -- with an estimated one for every 200,000 births.

However, in some areas of , the number of conjoined twins is higher, and the country has seen three declared cases since 2010.

Some Madagascans consider twins bad luck and parents have been known to kill or abandon one of the .

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(c) 2012 AFP

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