Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Natalia from Kenya raised $1,097 to fund spinal surgery.

  • $1,097 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Natalia's treatment was fully funded on August 15, 2017.
March 2, 2017

Natalia sadly and unexpectedly passed away after her surgery.

A few days after Natalia underwent surgery, she was readmitted to treat an infection. We are deeply saddened to report that Natalia passed away while receiving treatment.

“Your organization has meant the world to me,” says Natalia’s mother. “You have always been here for support, when I was so worried about my daughter’s treatment. It is so sad that she never made it, but she is at peace wherever she is. I thank God for the days he granted us to be together.”

We are committed to reporting all outcomes transparently—even the ones we wish were different. Thank you so much for your support of Natalia and her family.

A few days after Natalia underwent surgery, she was readmitted to treat an infection. We are deeply saddened to report that Natalia passed a...

Read more
November 3, 2016

Natalia is a five-month-old baby girl from Kenya. She is the younger of two children in her family. Natalia was born with spina bifida, meaning her spine is not fully formed. She also had hydrocephalus, a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid accumulated in her head.

At one month of age, Natalia underwent surgery to treat her hydrocephalus. On November 4, 2016, she underwent spina bifida treatment at our medical partner’s hospital, BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital. This procedure should prevent infection or the development of another condition called tethered cord.

Natalia lives with her older sister and parents in a rental house in the Nairobi suburbs. Natalia’s mother is a stay-at-home mother, and her father is a butcher. They cannot afford to pay the $1,097 cost of this procedure, and they need our help.

“It’s a tough battle, but I believe we will get through,” says Natalia’s mother. “We are not even able to raise a single cent towards this, but since God is in control, I believe all will be well.”

Natalia is a five-month-old baby girl from Kenya. She is the younger of two children in her family. Natalia was born with spina bifida, mean...

Read more

Natalia's Timeline

  • November 3, 2016

    Natalia was submitted by Robert Kariuki, Process Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare.

  • November 4, 2016

    Natalia received treatment at BethanyKids Kijabe Hospital (BKKH) in Kenya. Medical partners often provide care to patients accepted by Watsi before those patients are fully funded, operating under the guarantee that the cost of care will be paid for by donors.

  • November 11, 2016

    Natalia's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 2, 2017

    We received an update on Natalia. Read the update.

  • August 15, 2017

    Natalia's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 29 donors

Funded by 29 donors

Spina Bifida Closure
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,097 for Natalia's treatment
Hospital Fees
Medical Staff
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

The patient has a mass or lesion on the back that leaks cerebral spinal fluid, which puts him or her at risk of infection.

​What is the impact on patients’ lives of living with these conditions?

Spina bifida can cause incontinence, bladder and kidney damage, and paralysis and numbness in the lower limbs, bladder, and sphincter. It can also lead to hydrocephalus as a result of disturbance to the fluid in the brain. Hydrocephalus can lead to cognitive dysfunction, blindness, and death.

What cultural or regional factors affect the treatment of these conditions?

Spina bifida is more common in developing countries due to improper and inadequate nutrition. Foods containing folic acid are scarce, and food is not fortified. In Kenya, however, the Ministry of Health has recently started a program to give expectant mothers folic acid for free at government facilities.

  • Process
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Risks and side-effects
  • Accessibility
  • Alternatives

What does the treatment process look like?

After surgery, the patient's hospital stay ranges from two days to three weeks. The length of stay depends on the healing rate of the wound and will be extended if the patient also undergoes a shunt insertion to treat hydrocephalus. However, shunt insertions are usually performed about one month after this surgery. The patient is continually monitored. If the wound heals and the patient is in a neurologically stable condition, the surgery is considered successful.

What is the impact of this treatment on the patient’s life?

Surgery performed within the first days of a child’s life prevents infection and saves the spine and brain from further damage. Early surgery also minimizes the risk of paralysis. Later treatment may save the child's life and prevent further damage.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This surgery is moderately risky, and complications depend on the severity of the case.

How accessible is treatment in the area? What is the typical journey like for a patient to receive care?

There are few quality care centers in the region. Hospitals lack adequate resources and expertise to treat this condition. With about one neurosurgeon per 10,000,000 people in East Africa, initial treatment for spina bifida is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the primary option for most types of spina bifida.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Channarith is a 19-year-old student and security guard. He's the eldest of three in his family and his father is a construction worker. When not working or studying, he likes to play football, watch TV, listen to music, and help his mother with housework. Last November, Channarith was involved in a motorbike accident. He lost consciousness and severely injured his left arm. His parents took him to a clinic in their province, where doctors suggested they take him to our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre. He has been diagnosed with a brachial plexus injury on his left side. The brachial plexus is a nerve network that transmits signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Injuries to this nerve network can result in loss of function and sensation. Channarith cannot move his left shoulder and he has no elbow mobility nor finger movement. His muscles have atrophied and he has no feeling in his left arm. Doctors anticipate that a nerve transfer will help to restore movement to the associated muscle. Channarith traveled to our medical partner's care center to receive treatment, which is the only center in the whole country where this treatment is available. On March 3rd, he will undergo a brachial plexus repair surgery. After recovery, he hopes to use his arm again. Our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre, is requesting $696 to fund this procedure. Channarith says "I hope that I can use my arm and return to work as soon as possible."

35% funded

$447to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.