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Intermediate level

Malian woman gives birth to nine children

Episode 210506 / 06 May 2021

The story

A 25-year-old Malian woman has given birth to nine babies. This is two more babies than doctors had detected during scans.

Useful vocabulary

detected – discovered; found

nonuplets
– set of nine babies

specialist –
having detailed knowledge of skills

Caesarean section
– surgical delivery of babies

complications
– problems

outcome
– result of a situation

concerned
– worried about something

welfare
– health and wellbeing

intervene
– get involved or make decisions which change a situation

fascination
– wonder and intrigue in something

septuplets
– seven children

Questions about the story...

1. Where did Ms Cisse give birth to the nine babies?

2. How many girls and boys did Ms Cisse give birth to?

3. How long did Ms Cisse spend in the Moroccan clinic before giving birth?

4. How many children did doctors initially think Ms Cisse was carrying?

5. When are mother and babies expected to return home?

More about the story…

What has happened?

A Malian woman, Halima Cisse, gave birth to nonuplets in Morocco. Mali's government took the decision to fly her there for specialist care. Mali's health minister said that the nine babies (five girls and four boys) were born by Caesarean section and were doing well.

Why is this event so special?

It is an extremely rare occurrence to give birth to a set of nonuplets. Complications during and after birth often result in some of the babies not surviving. Mali's health minister, Fanta Siby, congratulated the medical teams in both Mali and Morocco for the "happy outcome".

What steps did the government take?

Doctors in the West African nation of Mali had been concerned for her welfare and the chances of the babies' survival. Therefore, the government decided to intervene. After a two-week stay in a hospital in Mali's capital, Bamako, the decision was made to move Ms Cisse to Morocco on 30 March, Dr Siby said. After five weeks at the Moroccan clinic, she gave birth on Tuesday.

How did this story affect Mali?

Ms Cisse's pregnancy became a subject of fascination in Mali - even when it was thought she was only carrying septuplets, the Reuters news agency reports. Apparently, in initial scans, only seven babies were detected.

What will happen next?

The mother and her new children are expected to return home in several weeks.

Find out more from the original BBC news report.

The answers

1. Why was Ms Cisse moved to Morocco to give birth?
A decision was made because doctors in the West African nation of Mali had been concerned for her welfare and the chances of the babies' survival.

2. How many girls and boys did Ms Cisse give birth to?
There were five girls and four boys.

3. How long did Ms Cisse spend in the Moroccan clinic before giving birth?
After five weeks at the Moroccan clinic, she gave birth on Tuesday.

4. How many children did doctors initially think Ms Cisse was carrying?
It was thought she was carrying septuplets.

5. When are mother and babies expected to return home?
The mother and her new babies are expected to return home in several weeks.

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