Alicia Longani
Alicia's Story

Alicia joined Watsi on November 20th, 2015. 32 other people also joined Watsi on that day! Alicia's most recent donation supported Imanirankunda, a refugee from Uganda, to safely deliver her baby.


Alicia has funded healthcare for 6 patients in 4 countries.

Patients funded by Alicia

Imanirankunda is 28 years old and married. She and her husband are refugees from The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They are now living in a refugee camp in Uganda where they have been since February of 2016. Before that, they were living in a camp in Burundi. In 2013, Imanirankunda delivered her first child by cesarian section (C-section) in Burundi. Unfortunately, the baby died at the age of two and a half years. A friend she met in Burundi helped pay for her surgery at the time. She is now 37 weeks pregnant and is unable to deliver normally because of her previous scar, a contracted pelvis, and she is physically challenged – she cannot walk. Imanirankunda's legs are too weak as she contracted polio when she was very young. If Imanirankunda does not deliver through a C-section, she may suffer uterine rupture which would endanger both her and her child's life. Uterine rupture's occur when there is a tear in the wall of the uterus, typically at the site of a prior C-section scar. A C-section will cost $270, which covers the surgery and seven days in the hospital to ensure Imanirankunda and the baby's health. While still in DRC, Imanirankunda learned how to read, write, and use a sewing machine. If she had a sewing machine and a wheel chair to sit in, she would be able to start an income-generating sewing project. After surgery and delivery, she hopes to take care of her baby with the help of her husband, friends, and other good-willed people. “I hope to deliver a healthy baby," Imanirankunda shares. "I am glad my hands are strong, so I will be able to hold my baby.”

Fully funded

Less than one month old, Sabbath is the youngest of five children in his family in Kenya. He was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which several vertebrae in the lower back do not close properly, leaving his spinal canal exposed. Sabbath has a swollen mass on his lower back. The mass—which contains a portion of his spinal cord that protrudes through the opening in his backbone—is open and leaking cerebrospinal fluid. If untreated, Sabbath is at risk of infection. In addition, he may develop a tethered cord if the exposed spinal cord attaches to other tissues in the lower back. A tethered cord can cause curvature of his spine as he grows. Sabbath’s parents were advised to seek specialized treatment for Sabbath when he was born, but they cannot afford Sabbath’s surgical care. His mother stays at home, and his father is a fisherman who earns just enough to sustain the basic needs of the family. Treatment for Sabbath is spina bifida closure surgery. Doctors will place the spinal cord and nerves back inside the backbone and cover them with membranes before closing the opening on Sabbath's back. $805 pays for Sabbath's surgery. Funding also covers the costs of a five-day hospital stay, three days of physical therapy, imaging, lab work, and medicine. A well-wisher offered to pay for the family's transportation to BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital for the surgery. Sabbath's mother looks forward to a successful surgery for her son. “I had to hide [him] from people in my village as they all wanted to see the swelling," she shares. "I am glad to have [come] to a place [where] he can be treated, and I am longing to see him well.”

Fully funded

Eight-month-old Neema was born on May 4th, 2015 with congenital nervous system complications. As our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), explains, “Neema was born with encephalocele on the back side of the skull.” Encephalocele is rare defect that occurs when a baby is born with a gap between the skull bones. When this happens, a fluid-filled sac protrudes from the site of the opening. If untreated, this mass can worsen and expose Neema to further complications. “The protrusion is growing with time and Neema also has hydrocephalus [fluid build-up in the brain] which needs management,” AMHF tells us. “Neema is already showing developmental delay as she still has no trunk control. She is also at high risk of losing her vision if not treated.” The youngest of seven, Neema lives with her family in Tanzania. Neema’s parents are livestock keepers who supplement their income by farming. “They did not expect their baby to be born with congenital deformities, but they still love her and hope that something can be done to restore her wellbeing,” AMHF shares. For $1,200, Neema will undergo lifesaving brain surgery to treat her encephalocele and hydrocephalus. Doctors will perform reconstructive surgery to restore the normal structure of her skull and drain the excess fluid from her brain. After surgery, Neema will be transported to Plaster House, a specialized surgical rehabilitation program. There, she will spend two weeks working with physiotherapists and physicians during critical parts of her recovery. AMHF expects that Neema will retain her eyesight and benefit from normal childhood development. “We really hope that our daughter will get well, have the ability to walk, to reason, and the strength to do various activities,” Neema’s father says.

Fully funded