A woman in South Africa gave birth to a girl suffering from a rare medical condition called progeria, which makes her look like an old woman.

The woman, who is believed to be mentally challenged, gave birth to the girl at her home in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with the help of her mother. The 55-year-old grandmother was quick to notice that the girl’s skin had wrinkles and she looked like an old woman, News 18 reported.

The baby was taken to the hospital where doctors said she was suffering from progeria (also called Hutchinson-Gilford syndrome), which is an extremely rare medical condition that causes children to age rapidly. The doctors said the girl’s condition was due to the mother’s complications.

Photos of the girl have gone viral on social media, with people making fun of the child’s appearance.

Speaking to local outlet SABC News, the girl’s grandmother said, "When she (the child’s mother) was in labour, we called an ambulance but it took a long time to come. So, she gave birth here at home. But the delivery got complicated and we hired a van to take her to the hospital. We were told there that she’s disabled. I noticed during her birth that there was something strange with her. She did not cry and she was breathing through the ribs. I was shocked because that was strange. Now I hear that people are calling her names. That hurts a lot. If I had means, I would put all of them in jail."

Doctor Martha Mayer, a neonatologist, said the syndrome is very rare.

"Progeria is a genetic condition that makes the baby age faster. Another thing is that these children also develop heart diseases and their life span is very short. We have never had a child with that condition in this hospital. It is very rare, maybe it happens to one in four or eight million people," the doctor said.

Meanwhile, Petros Majola, director of children’s rights organisation, Khula Community Development Project, told the outlet that people need to be educated about the syndrome and appealed to the public to not mock the baby and support the family.

"Communities must know that the mother did not apply [sic.] for her baby to be like this. In a woman’s womb, there is no construction or factory that builds babies. People need to embrace this child," Majola told the outlet.

Representation. A baby. Pixabay