Miikka joined Watsi on November 4th, 2015. Five years ago, Miikka became the 1576th member to automatically support a new Watsi patient every month. Since then, 4,849 more people have become monthly donors! Miikka's most recent donation traveled 4,300 miles to support Josephine, a 38-year-old woman from Kenya, to fund spinal surgery.
Miikka has funded healthcare for 58 patients in 11 countries.
Josephine shared that she has been struggling with chronic lower back pains for 7 years. She has been under medication and physiotherapy, but without improvement. Doctors recommend a Lumbar Discectomy Surgery to avert the possible advance effects of the condition, which could affect her backbone and the spinal cord. If not treated, Josephine risks having prolonged pains, numbness, and loss of muscle strength that can result in paralysis. Josephine's back problems started in November 2012 while she was doing her laundry. She felt clicking sound on her lower back accompanied by sharp pains. She visited a nearby hospital for treatment. Josephine was put on physiotherapy and pain medication. For the last 7 years, she has been visiting different health facilities but her condition keeps deteriorating. Josephine was referred to Watsi's Medical Partner Care Center Kijabe Hospital by a friend who had received the same treatment in the facility. Josephine doesn’t have a source of income. She is a full time housewife who has dedicated all her time to raising their three children aged between 4-13 years, and taking care of her family. They live in a two-roomed house that costs $30 per month. Her husband is a lorry driver and their family depends on his sole source of income to pay rent, school fees, medical expenses, and for survival. Josephine depends on her husband’s medical cover where she is listed as a beneficiary. Several trips to different hospital has depleted their coverage and family’s little resources. They have been also been relying in the the national health insurance fund which can cover only part of the total cost of the surgery and treatment. She is appealing for financial aid to support the remaining cost of $1,500. Josephine says, “I have lived with this pain for long but it’s now becoming unbearable. I need this surgery and treatment to get my life back to normal again."
Htay is a 45-year-old woman who lives with her husband and three daughters in Thae Phyu Village in Burma. Htay and her husband run a small shop selling betel nut and general groceries beside their home, however she has been unable to work due to her heart condition for the past year. Htay’s oldest daughter used to work at a factory in Yangon, but moved back home last year when Htay became too ill to wok. She now helps out at Htay’s shop while also helping with household chores. Htay’s other two daughters are students; one is in grade 10 and the other is in grade four. After she gave birth to her last daughter, Htay began to experience frequent pain in her chest and headaches. Whenever she would lay down, she also felt like she could not breathe well. She then went to Htantabin General Hospital in Yangon where she received an electrocardiogram (ecg). Later, the doctor told her that she has arthritis and Ischemic heart disease, a condition where an organ does not receive enough blood and oxygen. She was given medication and returned home. Htay said, “This medication seemed to help my condition and I continued to buy it from the pharmacy.” In February 2020, Htay’s condition deteriorated again; she felt like she could not breathe and that she was exhausted all the time. Htay and her husband went to Thiri Sandar Hospital in Yangon where she received x-rays and an echo. After checking her results, the doctor told her that she has a large hole in her heart and that she would need to have it closed surgically. Currently, Htay has difficulty breathing, mostly at night, and she feels tired especially when she uses the upstairs. She also has a rapid heartbeat. Htay told us, “I am worried about my condition and I am very sad whenever I think about it. But now I am happy to have found someone to help support my treatment. Once I have fully recovered, I will build a new shop [made of bamboo] because my old shop is starting to fall apart. I will also go back to working with my husband and I will support my children so that they can become educated people.”
Ratha is a six year old boy with one younger brother. Their parents are farmers. He is in the first grade and loves reading books about animals. Everyday when he finishes his homework, he takes his brother outside to play. They also like to watch cartoons together. Since he was born, Ratha has had contracted muscles in the left side of his neck, which has made it difficult for him to move or rotate his head. In addition, his head is tilted to the left side, and he cannot keep it straight. Ratha has often experienced social ostracization due to this condition, and he has difficulty participating in athletics with other students. Doctors at Watsi's Medical Partner CSC now plan to perform a tenotomy in order to release the tension in his neck and allow him to gain a greater range of motion. After this procedure he will be able to rotate and tilt his head normally. Ratha's father said, "My son enjoys playing soccer near the house, but I want him to be able to play with all the children and make a lot of friends. This surgery will really make his life better."
Neang is a 4-year-old child from Cambodia. She is the youngest child in a family of five. Her father is a farmer, while her mother sells goods at the local market. Neang has not yet started school, but when she is at home, she likes to paint pictures in watercolor and play with her brother. When she was two years old, Neang had a serious ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in both ears to perforate. For this reason, Neang experiences hearing loss, severe ear pain, and a persistent discharge from both ears. Her infections have been recurring and resistant to medicine. Her hearing loss has prevented her from communicating effectively with others, and the pain causes her distress. Neang's mother has had to spend more time caring for her, resulting in a loss of income for the family. Neang traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On June 2nd, she will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in both ears. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforations. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $913 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Her father said, "I am sad when I think about the pain she feels in both her ears, and I want her to be able to talk normally and clearly with us, and do the things she likes as a child."
Geoffrey is a young boy from Kenya. Geoffrey has two other siblings and together with his parents, lives on their ancestral land. His father takes up casual labor in people’s farms to provide for their family, while his mother takes care of the house and children. Their income is quite limited to make ends meet. When Geoffrey was one-year-old, he fell on a basin with boiling water sustaining severe burns on his hands and scalp. He spent the next 6 weeks in the hospital receiving wound care. Fortunately, he healed, but with contractures on his left hand. This led to limited motion of his hand by the elbow. His fingers fused together, and he is not able to hold anything with his hand. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Geoffrey receive treatment. On June 10th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery. In the future, he will be able to hold things and to write using his hands. Now, he needs help to fund this $1,176 procedure. Geoffrey’s mother says, “My hope is to see Geoffrey being able to hold something with his hands.”
Ali is a 1-month-old infant from Ethiopia and is a beautiful baby boy. He has six siblings. He loves to play with his mom and siblings and is exclusively fed breast milk. His father is a day laborer and earns limited income which is sufficient for their family's daily needs, but not more than that. His mom is a house wife and she raises her children full-time. Ali was born with an anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality that leads to a complete or partial intestinal blockage. He needs to undergo a series of procedures to eliminate bowel dysfunction. Ali is scheduled to undergo surgery to correct his condition on April 2nd. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,500 to cover the total cost of Ali's procedure and care. After his recovery, Ali will no longer experience bowel dysfunction or be at risk of developing health complications in the future. His parents shared, “We hope the operation will bring him good health. We were very troubled because of our financial constraint.”
Dymitry is a 13-year-old student from Haiti. Dymitry lives in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince with his mother and grandparents. He is in the sixth grade and especially likes engineering and math. Dymitry has a cardiac condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. This condition involves several related defects including a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart, and a muscular blockage of one of the valves. Fortunately, Dymitry will be able to fly to Canada to receive treatment. On April 2nd, he will undergo cardiac surgery, during which surgeons will close the hole in his heart with a patch, and remove the muscular blockage from his valve. Another organization, The Herbie Fund, is contributing $25,000 to pay for surgery. Dymitry's family also needs help to fund the costs of surgery prep and transport. The $1,500 bill covers labs, medicines, and checkup and followup appointments. It also supports passport obtainment and the social workers from our medical partner, Haiti Cardiac Alliance, who will accompany Dymitry's family overseas. Dymitry told us, "I am looking forward to learning how to play soccer after my surgery!"
Pyae Pyae is 14-year-old girl from Burma. She lives with her parents, two sisters and four brothers in a village in Burma. Her father is a subsistence farmer, her mother is a homemaker and Pyae Pyae goes to school. She is currently in grade nine. Pyae Pyae was diagnosed with a heart condition that involves a malformation of the mitral valve, the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle. This valve controls the flow of blood, but certain conditions may cause blood to flow backward or the valve to narrow. Currently, Pyae Pyae is taking medication which stops her from having difficulty breathing and feeling tired. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund a mitral valve replacement for Pyae Pyae. The treatment is scheduled to take place on February 12th and, once completed, will hopefully allow her to live more comfortably. "When I grow up I would like to become a nurse," said Pyae Pyae. "I would like to take care of others like me who suffer from a heart disease."
Lincoln is a child from Kenya. Lincoln is the second born of two children and lives with his mother and sibling in Nairobi suburbs. His father left them 8 months ago, due to the increasing family demands. Lincoln’s mother sells grocery to sustain the family needs but she is not able to raise the funds needed for his surgical care, Since he was four months old, Lincoln has been experiencing difficulties breathing and his nasal airway always clogged. frequent illness causes him to make many visits to hospitals. He was recently diagnosed with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, which are the soft tissue behind the nasal cavity. Without treatment, this condition will cause Lincoln's symptoms to persist and possibly even intensify. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $779 to fund an adenotonsillectomy for Lincoln, which is scheduled to take place on November 28. Surgeons will remove his tonsils and adenoids, hopefully relieving Lincoln of his symptoms and helping him live more comfortably. “I look forward to the day he will sleep peacefully without the clogging on his nostrils,” says Lincoln’s mother.
U Min is a 49-year-old man from Burma. He lives with his wife, son, and daughter. He and his son work as day laborers. His wife stays home to look after household chores, while his daughter studies in grade school. About a month ago, U Min's right heel was injured while he was getting off from the tractor he was driving at work. It was very painful that he went to a clinic in his village to receive treatment. However, his condition did not improved with the treatment, and the wound worsened day by day. He was then advised by the health workers at his village to go to Mawlamyine Christian Leprosy Hospital (MCLH) for further treatment. At MCLH, the doctor did detail assessment of U Min's condition and said that because of his injury, the blood supply to his heel was insufficient. His wound by then has turned into black color, as the tissues around his heel were damaged and have died, and it causes him severe pain, especially at night. Since the doctor could no longer help to make his ulcer healed by treatments, the only option is to do a below knee amputation. U Min said, "It's so painful that I can't bear it anymore. I just want to receive surgery as soon as possible."
Socheat is a seventh grade student from Cambodia. His favorite subject in school is math and Khmer, and he enjoys reading books and playing with his siblings. Since he was four years old, Socheat had an ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in his right ear to perforate. For this reason, Socheat experiences itchiness, tinnitus, pain, and ear discharge. He is not able to hear clearly and often experiences challenges communicating with others. Socheat traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On October 03, he will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in his right ear. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforation. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $423 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. Socheat's mother said, "I hope that after surgery, my son will feel better and no longer have any pain or ear discharge."
She lives with her parents in Karen State, Burma. She now works at Kyaw Hta Rural Clinic, 45 minutes away by motorbike from her village and earns 70,000 Kyat (approx. 70 USD) per month. Her parents are farmers and their total income is 100,000 kyat (approx. 100 USD) per month. Their income is just enough for their daily needs. Around eight years ago, Cherry developed pain in the right side of her abdomen. She went to the clinic near her village. At the clinic, the medic thought that she was suffering from normal stomachaches. Since the clinic did not have the necessary equipment to run diagnostic tests, the medic treated her for the pain. She received pain killers and when the pain was worse, a stronger does of pain killers through an injection. In May 2019, she was completing her training with Mae Tao Clinic (MTC), when the pain in her abdomen became worse. She received an ultrasound and painkillers at the clinic, before she was diagnosed with a renal stone in her right kidney. MTC then referred her to Mae Sot Hospital (MSH) for further investigation and treatment. At the hospital, she received an X-ray, ultrasound and a blood test, as well as oral medication for the pain. After checking her results, the doctor confirmed her diagnosis and told her that she needs to receive laser treatment two to three times, to break up the stone in her kidney. She received her first round of laser treatment on 7 August 2019. To pay for that, she had to borrow money from her supervisor and her neighbor. She was scheduled to undergo a second round of treatment on 18 September 2019, but she could no longer afford to pay. Luckily, MTC referred her to Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF) for assistance in accessing further treatment. Currently, Cherry still has pain in the right side of her abdomen. She is interested in the field of medicine and enjoys learning new things related to this field in her free time.