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Deborah is a newborn from Tanzania who needs $1,200 to treat spina bifida.

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January 20, 2017

Deborah is a newborn who is only three days old. When she was born, her doctors noticed that she had a sac on her lower back. She was diagnosed with spina bifida, a spinal cord malformation.

The hospital immediately referred Deborah’s mother to our medical partner’s care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, for treatment. On January 22, Deborah will undergo a $1,200 spina bifida closure surgery at the medical center. Without this treatment, Deborah is at risk of complications, such as tethered cord syndrome or lower limb paralysis.

Deborah’s parents cannot afford to pay for the care their daughter needs. They need help to pay her medical bill.

“I hope that this treatment will help my child to be healed and she will be happy,” says Deborah’s mother.

Deborah is a newborn who is only three days old. When she was born, her doctors noticed that she had a sac on her lower back. She was diagno...

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Deborah's Timeline

  • January 20, 2017

    Deborah was submitted by Beatrice Njoroge, Curative Medical Support Program Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare Foundation, our medical partner in Tanzania.

  • January 23, 2017

    Deborah received treatment at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC).

  • January 23, 2017

    Deborah's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • March 10, 2017

    Awaiting Deborah's treatment update from African Mission Healthcare Foundation.


    Deborah is currently raising funds for her treatment.

Funded by 19 donors

Funded by 19 donors

Myelomeningocoele w/ hydrocephalus
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

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

Symptoms of hydrocephalus include an enlarged head size, irritability, abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and increased intracranial pressure. Cognitive development can be affected, and damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness.

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

In young children, hydrocephalus affects brain development, cognition, and vision. In older children and adults, hydrocephalus also causes headaches.

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

The burden of infant hydrocephalus in East Africa is significant, with more than 6,000 new cases estimated per year. The majority are caused by neonatal infection and vitamin deficiency, and should thus be preventable. In East Africa, the single most common cause of hydrocephalus is infection, usually via neonatal meningitis or ventriculitis. Neonatal sepsis is common and is exacerbated by the lack of skilled perinatal care for the majority of births in Africa.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Hydrocephalus patients are usually treated within a few days of arriving at the hospital. Fortunately, our medical partner can accept many patients who would otherwise go home if they could not afford the surgery cost. Treatment involves inserting a shunt into the brain to route cerebrospinal fluid to another part of the body. One month after surgery, the patient returns for a follow-up appointment.

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

This surgery is lifesaving. The patient will no longer be at risk of cognitive and vision damage. Surgical treatment for hydrocephalus can restore and maintain normal cerebrospinal fluid levels in the brain.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, though the outcome depends on how quickly the disease is identified and treated.

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 hydrocephalus is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the only option.