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Success! Dorcas from Kenya raised $1,097 to fund spina bifida treatment.

  • $1,097 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Dorcas's treatment was fully funded on December 30, 2017.

Photo of Dorcas post-operation

August 17, 2017

Dorcas underwent spina bifida treatment.

The surgery to repair the open defect was successful. The chances of infection or further complication have been minimized.

“Words cannot express how grateful I am for the generosity shown towards my daughter’s treatment. It is not a usual thing to come to hospital and walk out freely. Thanks to Watsi,” says Dorcas’s mother.

The surgery to repair the open defect was successful. The chances of infection or further complication have been minimized. “Words canno...

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June 27, 2017

Dorcas is a newborn baby girl from Kenya. Dorcas was born with spina bifida, a condition in which the spine does not completely form. Her spinal cord and its surrounding membranes protrude through an opening in her backbone, in turn exposing her spinal cord and making Dorcas vulnerable to infection, loss of lower-limb muscular function, and early trauma.

As subsistence farmers, Dorcas’s parents are unable to cover the cost of the surgery that their daughter needs. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is therefore requesting $1,097 to cover the cost of Dorcas’s operation. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 28 and, once completed, will hopefully allow Dorcas to live free from the medical complications that could result from her condition.

“It’s my prayer that she gets well and lives a healthy life,” says Dorcas’s mother.

Dorcas is a newborn baby girl from Kenya. Dorcas was born with spina bifida, a condition in which the spine does not completely form. Her sp...

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Dorcas's Timeline

  • June 27, 2017

    Dorcas was submitted by Maya Murao, Fellow at African Mission Healthcare.

  • June 28, 2017

    Dorcas 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.

  • July 17, 2017

    Dorcas's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • August 17, 2017

    Dorcas's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • December 30, 2017

    Dorcas's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 16 donors

Funded by 16 donors

Spina Bifida Closure
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,097 for Dorcas'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.


Selinah is a 31-year-old nun from Uganda. She serves as a nun under Our Lady of Fatima Rushoroza and is currently posted to the formation house of the Missionaries of Africa. She does not receive salary for her services apart from a small allowance for personal use. She is the fifth born in a family of 10 and her parents are small-scale farmers. For three years, Selinah has been experiencing lower abdominal pains. She was treated for a bacterial infection with no change in symptoms. She has also had several medications from different medical centers. None of them helped, and in the last year her condition has worsened. She can no longer stand comfortably for long because she has pains extending to her lower body. Selinah has challenges getting out of bed due to this pain. Selinah has been diagnosed with leiomyoma and endometrial hyperplasia. If not treated, she is at a risk of endometrial carcinoma and other severe complications like anaemia. Selinah has sought financial support from her congregation, but shared that they are unable to meet the surgery cost because of the number of congregants affected by COVID-19. She needs to undergo a hysterectomy, a procedure in which surgeons will remove her uterus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare (AMH), is requesting $319 to fund Selinah's surgery. On September 4th, she will undergo gynecological surgery at our medical partner's care center. Once recovered, Selinah will be able to resume her daily activities free of pain. Sister Selinah says, “My condition has generally affected my duties and life as a nun. Given treatment, I will be able to do all my day to day duties and be able to develop my congregation. I will continue serving the Lord by helping others where I can.”

40% funded

$189to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.