Tabitha joined Watsi on November 25th, 2014. Seven years ago, Tabitha joined our Universal Fund, supporting life-changing treatments for a new Watsi patient every month. Tabitha's most recent donation traveled 8,200 miles to support Hamza, a playful boy from Ethiopia, to fund a mass removal in his abdomen so he can return to school.
Tabitha has funded healthcare for 76 patients in 11 countries.
Tabitha has funded healthcare for 76 patients in 11 countries.
Hamza is a 4-year-old boy from Ethiopia and the sixth child of his parents. He loves to play football. He joined school but had to stop going as a result of his condition. Hamza's father died a year and a half ago and his mom runs a small business selling charcoal in their village. His three older siblings do small business as shoe shiners and daily workers. Hamza's mom shared that most of the time, their family eats twice a day because their income can't afford three meals a day. Hamza has been diagnosed with an abdominal mass called Neurofibomatosis. This causes swelling and a change of the shape of the abdomen. It also causes abdominal discomfort, pain, and bloating. Doctors have done a CT scan and identified a mass is on the wall of his abdomen that needs to be removed. His mother shared: “Hamza wants to learn and I want him also to go to school. I hope after the treatment he'll be as healthy as others and go to school.”
Melvin is a 3-year-old boy and the third and last born child in his family. His father is a security guard at local gas station and makes a humble income. To supplement his earnings, Melvin’s mother does laundry and farming for their neighbors. Occasionally, she's able to sell some farm produce she gets from their small farm. When Melvin was born, he was not able to breastfeed. After some referrals and unsuccessful treatments, Melvin went to the national hospital and was diagnosed with Hirschprung disease, a birth condition affecting his digestive system. He had several surgeries to correct the condition, which were fortunately covered by his family's National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) coverage at the time. One of the surgeries Melvin underwent was a colostomy, in which the end of the colon is brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for closure. In Melvin's case, his colostomy requires closure in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. However, to undergo the colostomy closure at the national hospital, he and his mother had to take COVID-19 tests, which were too expensive for their family. Fortunately, a family friend referred them next to our Medical Partner's Care Center BethanyKids Hospital, where doctors conducted tests and scheduled Melvin for the colostomy closure. Melvin's family normally has NHIF coverage, but they have depleted their yearly surgical allocation so this procedure is not supported. Melvin’s parents appeal for financial support for their son. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $650 to cover the cost of a colostomy closure for Melvin. The surgery is scheduled to take place on April 27th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Melvin’s mother shared, “We have been through a lot with Melvin and stopping now is not an option for us. We would like Melvin to live a healthy life just as our other children but our financial state has been a big hindrance for us.”
Say is a four-year-old boy who lives with his mother, brother, sister, and grandfather in a refugee camp on the border of Thailand. His father returned to Burma to visit his village last year. When Thailand closed its borders because of the COVID-19 outbreak, his father could not come back to the camp. Say's grandfather is an assistant pastor in the camp and he receives his income through donations when he visits his church members for home prayers. Say goes to nursery school while both of his siblings go to primary school. His mother does all the household chores. Every month, their household receives some funding to purchase rations in the camp, which is just enough for their basic needs. They receive free healthcare and education in the camp, but specialized procedures like the care that Say needs are often not possible. In early February 2021, Say developed an inguinal hernia on his right side, which has resulted in swelling and pain. His mother has noticed that since he developed the hernia, his appetite has decreased, as eating more can sometimes cause additional discomfort. Fortunately, on March 25th, he will undergo hernia repair surgery at Mae Sot General Hospital, our medical partner's care center. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to fund Say's hernia repair surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on March 25th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably. Say's mother said, "When I heard that my son needs surgery, I became so worried because he is the youngest in our family." She is eager for the surgery to be complete and for Say to have healed.
Yohana is a baby boy from Tanzania. Yohana is the only child to his parents who are small-scale farmers and livestock keepers. Yohana was out playing while his father was attending to the cattle, collecting cow dung from their cattle shed and burning it to keep the compound clean. His mother was cleaning dishes. Both parents were focused on their chores while Yohana went over to where the cow dung was burning. Unfortunately, he fell into it, sustaining burns on his hands and legs. Burn scar contractures have developed, tightening the skin around his burn. Fortunately, our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Yohana receive treatment. On February 16th, surgeons at their care center will perform a burn contracture release surgery so he will be able to use his fingers freely. Now, their family needs help to fund this $874 procedure. Yohana’s father shared, “my son’s hands have been deformed. We would love for him to have both of his hands corrected, but the cost is too high for us to afford. Please help us.”
Nyirantozi is a small-scale farmer from Uganda. Nyirantozi is a mother of six but shared that she has lost three of her children. Her living children are all married and are only able to offer limited support to her due to their education background along with their personal responsibilities in their respective families. Nyirantozi and her husband's farming output is considerably low because of their age; they survive on the little support they obtain from their relatives and friends. They own a two room semi-permanent house for shelter. During her free time, she likes very much playing with her grandchildren. Ten years ago, Nyirantozi began to experience troubling symptoms, including severe neck pain and difficulty in breathing and speaking. She was diagnosed with multi-nodular goitre. She needs surgery to prevent her symptoms from getting worse. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Nyirantozi receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on September 3rd at our medical partner's care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $293, and Nyirantozi and her family need your support. Nyirantozi says, “I am in severe pain and seek help. I can no longer go to the fields to be able to support my family with food. I will resume farming as soon as possible after my surgery.”
Vy is a 32-year-old farmer who raises animals in Cambodia. Vy has one sister and one brother. Their father passed away years ago. She lives with her family and they work together to raise animals. Vy was born with meningoencephalocele (MEC), a rare defect which causes spinal fluid to protrude from the front of the skull. In her case, the mass formed at the bridge of her nose. Years ago she had the complex MEC correction procedure to remove the mass and repair the hole in her skull to prevent future fluid leaking. The surgery was successful at treating the MEC but some tissue scarring remains on her nose. Vy still experiences occasional pain and tearing from the condition. She also finds it difficult to secure employment outside her home due to the stigma associated with her facial scarring. When Vy learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for three hours seeking treatment. On June 5th, surgeons at CSC will perform a skin graft procedure to cover up the scar tissue around Vy's nose, allowing her to skin to heal normally. Now, Vy needs help to fund this $474 procedure. Vy said, "I hope that after the surgery, I will not have that big scar on my nose, and I can be happy and confident showing my face to the people in my village."
Erick is a young student from Kenya. His father is a motorbike taxi driver while his mother is a stay at home mom. Last year, Erick’s father got involved in a road accident and the little savings they had as a family were used up in his treatment. Erick was diagnosed with cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both of the testicles remains undescended. If left untreated, Erick has an increased risk of developing hernias, testicular cancer, and fertility problems in the future. Fortunately, Erick will be receiving assistance from our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF). He is scheduled to undergo corrective surgery on March 3rd. AMHF is requesting $535 to cover the total cost of his procedure and care. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up,” says Erick.
Youn is a 68-year-old rice farmer from Cambodia. She has one son, two daughters, and enjoys spending time with her eight grandchildren as well as visiting the local pagoda. One month ago, Youn developed a cataract in her right eye, causing her blurry vision, tearing, and photophobia. She has difficulty seeing things clearly, recognizing faces, and going anywhere outside. When Youn learned about our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, she traveled for one and a half hours seeking treatment. On December 12, doctors will perform a phacoemulsification cataract surgery and an intraocular lens implant in her right eye. After recovery, she will be able to see clearly. Now, she needs help to fund this $211 procedure. Youn's daughter said, "I hope that after her surgery, my mother will be able to see clearly again and will no longer have any difficulty seeing."
Naikulo is a smiley seven-year-old boy from Tanzania and one of almost 40 children in his family. They shared with us that his father is polygamous and has eight wives. Naikulo's father is an older man who depends on livestock keeping to be able to care for and support his family. Naikulo has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain and increases intracranial pressure. As a result of his condition, Naikulo has been experiencing an increasing head circumference. Naikulo acquired hydrocephalus in 2012 and was able to have treatment through funding that helped relieve him of the pressure build-up which was putting him in danger of brain damage. However, Naikulo's shunt has failed and he needs another surgery to help relieve him from the pain he is going through because of the pressure build-up that has resulted due to the malfunctioning of the shunt. Without treatment, Naikulo will experience severe physical and developmental delays. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $765 to cover the cost of surgery for Naikulo that will treat his hydrocephalus. The procedure is scheduled to take place on September 28th and will drain the excess fluid from Naikulo's brain. This will reduce intracranial pressure and greatly improve his quality of life. With proper treatment, Naikulo will hopefully develop into a strong, healthy young boy. Naikulo’s older brother says, “My parents are not able to come up with the money needed to treat my young brother, please help him he is suffering.”
Khin Htay is a 26-year-old-Araknese woman who lives with her younger sister in Yangon, Burma. She is in her final year of university. Her sister works as a seamstress in a shop and earns 200,000 kyat (approx.200 USD) per month. Their parents and their eldest sister are rice farmers in Rakhine State. Every year, they sell half of their harvest to earn an income. Htay's sister in Yangon sends their parents money occasionally, while their parents support Htay's medical expenses. The income that Khin Htay's sister earns is enough to cover their daily expenses and pay for basic health care. In 2018, Khin Htay started to feel very tired and could not sleep well at night. She also experienced chest pains if she walked anywhere far. She took traditional medicine which helped her feel and sleep better. However, she continued to feel tired and experience pain. One day in 2019, a neighbor who has a heart condition, told her that she could have a heart disease like her; the neighbor had also experienced the same symptoms. The neighbor advised her to seek treatment at Pinlon Hospital in Yangon, where the neighbor had undergone heart surgery. She decided to follow the neighbor's recommendation and also moved in with her sister in Yangon for extra support. In December 2019, Khin Htay went to Pinlon Hospital to see a cardiologist. After receiving an echocardiogram (echo), the doctor told her that two valves in her heart no longer work and that she would need to receive surgery to replace those valves. The doctor also told her that because her condition is not severe, she did not need surgery yet. She received six month's worth of medication and a follow-up appointment for June 17th, 2020. When she came back for her appointment, she received another echo and an x-ray. After checking her results, the doctor told her that her condition had progressed and she now needed surgery, which would cost 15,000,000 kyat (approx.15,000 USD). When they learned about the price of the procedure, Khin Htay and her sister lost hope of ever getting Khin Htay treatment; they could not afford to pay such a large sum of money. When she told a nurse at the hospital called Sandar Ko about their financial situation, the nurse told her about an abbot who might be able to help her. The abbot heads Kyaung Gyi Parahita Monastery and is a partner of Burma Children Medical Fund (BCMF). Khin Htay called the abbot and asked for help accessing surgery. The abbot then referred Htay to Watsi's Medical Partner BCMF for assistance receiving treatment at Pinlon Hospital. Currently, Khin Htay feels tired and suffers from chest pains when she walks a lot. She cannot sleep very well at night and she feels short of breath at least twice a week. To try and cope with her symptoms mentally, she prays or recites Dhamma. She also tries to help her sister with household chore such as cooking and sweeping. She hopes that she will be able to continue her studies after surgery and she would like to work for the government as a civil servant once she graduates. Khin Htay shared, “When I graduate, I will work and support my parents because they are getting old and they will not be able to work on the farm in the future.”
Noeun is a 41-year-old construction worker. He works alongside his wife; they have been married for fifteen years and have two children together. He takes his children to school everyday, and in his free time he loves to play soccer or exercise. Three years ago, Noeun fell from the roof of a construction site and suffered a traumatic injury to his left hip. He has taken medicine to help with the pain, but lately the pain has gotten worse, and he has difficulty walking and sleeping. He came to Children's Surgical Centre (CSC) on recommendation from a neighbor. An x-ray found that Noeun had a fracture in his left hip so doctors now plan to perform a hemiarthroplasty, a surgical procedure that involves replacing half of the hip joint. Once he recovers his hip pain will be gone and he will be able to walk easily and return to work. Now he needs your help to fund this $539 procedure.
Norntha is a 32-year-old woman from Cambodia. She is currently unemployed and she lives with her older sister. She likes to do the housework, listen to music, and watch television. When she was a child, Norntha had a serious ear infection. This infection caused the tympanic membrane, or the ear drum, in her right ear to perforate. For this reason, Norntha experiences ear pain, ear discharge, and tinnitus. She cannot communicate clearly with others, and it is difficult for her to find job opportunities. Norntha traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment. On March 11th, she will undergo a myringoplasty procedure in her right ear. During this procedure, surgeons will close the perforation. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $464 to fund this procedure. This covers medications, supplies, and inpatient care. She said, "I hope I can hear clearly and I will get a good job."