The woman, Martha Mkandawire aged 19 delivered her baby on Wednesday at around 2:30 pm through caesarian section.
District health officer (DHO) Dr Gift Kawaladzira said the baby, which is a fully matured 9 months, has a congenital abnormality called neurotube defect (NTD) which affects the head, brain and spinal cord.
“If the abnormality affects the head and brain it is called neurotube defect while if the affected part is the spinal cord it is called spina befida.”
The doctor said this is a rare case which happens when the neurotube fails to close during the early stages of pregnancy.
He said among others, the neurotube fails to close due to lack of micronutrients such as folic acid (vitamin b) which helps in the production of new cells.
Dr Kawaladzira said the baby has slim chances of survival as many cases of neurotube defects ends in still births or a baby dies soon after birth.
He said cases such as these could be prevented if women were eating foods fortified with folic acid or take supplements in addition to eating eating folate-rich foods during the early and later stages of pregnancy.
However the baby’s mother blamed her child’s fate on witchcraft. This was her first pregnancy.
Mkandawire comes from Chinthambwila village in the area of traditional; Authority Mtwalo in Mzimba district.
This incident comes barely two weeks when another woman in Salima, Jamira Manduwa delivered a baby with strange features, a condition that was identified as “Harlequin Ichthyosis”.
The baby was later referred to Kamuzu central hospital where she died.