A 22 year old Zimbabwean girl has given birth to Siamese or conjoined twins.
Miss Antonette Moyo gave birth to the girls at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo on December 1 after she was referred from Beitbridge District Hospital.
Miss Moyo is yet to name the twins who share a chest and a liver but preliminary observations show they have individual hearts and pairs of lungs as well as kidneys.
Of the documented cases of conjoined twins since independence, only one was referred outside the country while in two instances the babies died before surgery and the other two pairs were separated.
Siamese twins result from either fission, in which the fertilized egg splits partially or fusion in which a fertilized egg completely separates but stem cells search for similar cells on the other embryo and fuse the twins.
Medical experts say this happens because identical twins are a result of one fertilized egg and it is effectively one person divided into two but when there are delays in the separation of the embryo, the babies become conjoined.
If conjoined twins undergo certain treatments early, they can be separated easily if there are no shared major organs.