The world’s only nonuplets – nine babies born at the same time – have safely returned home to Mali after spending the first 19 months of their lives in Morocco.
The babies broke the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive.
Ahead of the birth in May 2021, the mother, Halima Cissé, now 27, was flown to Morocco for specialist care.
Before returning, they had been living with medical support in Casablanca.
After arriving back in the Malian capital, Bamako, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the father, Abdelkader Arby, thanked the Malian government, which he said had been helping the family financially.
“It’s a lot of work, but Allah, who gave us this blessing, will help us in their upbringing and taking care of them,” he added.
Health Minister Diéminatou Sangara said the government will continue to support the family.
The babies – five girls and four boys – were born by Cᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ at 30 weeks, according to the Malian authorities last year.
The girls – named Kadidia, Fatouma, Hawa, Adama and Oumou – and the boys – named Mohammed VI, Oumar, Elhadji and Bah – weighed between 500g and 1kg (1.1lb and 2.2lb) at birth, Prof Youssef Alaoui, medical director of the clinic where they were born, told the AFP news agency.
There were ʀɪsᴋs that they could have developed health problems due to their premature birth, and they spent the first months of their lives in hospital.
They were then moved to an apartment where they received round-the-clock care from the Ain Borja clinic.
Earlier this year, on their first birthday, their father said that each one has a unique personality.
“They all have different characters. Some are quiet, while others make more noise and cry a lot. Some want to be picked up all the time. They are all very different, which is entirely normal.”
Mr. Arby also said that they had become famous in Mali and that people were “very keen to see the babies with their own eyes.”
Nonuplets are extremely rare, and often ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs occur in multiple births of this scale, which can result in some of the babies not surviving to full term.
Only two sets of nonuplets have been officially recorded in the past: one born to a woman in Australia in 1971 and another to a woman in Malaysia in 1999, but none of the babies survived.
The previous record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive was set in 2009, when American Nadya Suleman, aka “Octomom,” had eight babies.