Cobhams Asuquo, 34, the award winning music producer, song writer, and singer was born blind, but has never let that stop him from pursuing his dreams.
In an old interview, his mother, Mrs Asuquo said, Cobhams was about three months old when she noticed some things about him that made her take him to the University College Hospital, Ibadan. She was referred from Ibadan to a specialist hospital in Kaduna where she was told that her child, Cobhams was visually impaired.
The cause of Cobham's blindness could be a faulty gene or one of the TORCH infections-- a common cause of congenital blindness in Nigeria. TORCH is a medical acronym for a set of infections which can be passed from a pregnant woman to her foetus and some of these infections can be prevented/treated if detected early in both mother and baby.
O- Others (syphilis, varicella zoster, Listeriosis, Coxsackie virus, Parvovirus B-19)
H-Herpes simplex (HSV-2).
Each of these infections can lead to severe foetal anomalies including: blindness, hearing loss, mental retardation, and microcephaly. In mild cases of infection before birth, a baby may not demonstrate any sign of infection but later develop complications like total blindness and mental retardation. Also, some of these infections can pass through breast milk to the baby.
Sadly, of all these potentially life threatening infections, only syphilis is tested for during routine antenatal investigations in Nigeria.
Therefore, every expectant mother must report in the clinic if she develops fever, skin rash, vaginal rash/lesions or any unusual symptom during pregnancy. They are pointers to an infection which could pass through the placenta to the baby and cause grievous harm.