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Success! Melisa from Tanzania raised $838 to fund surgery on her legs.

  • $838 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Melisa's treatment was fully funded on November 13, 2017.

Photo of Melisa post-operation

September 22, 2017

Melisa underwent surgery on her legs.

Melisa’s legs are now straightened and they will allow her to move easily without pain. This will help her to attend school, play, help out with home activities, and fulfill her dreams in life without pain and discomfort.

Her mother says, “I am very happy and very thankful that we got help . We could not imagine that Melisa will receive treatment because we had waited very long. Finally, Melisa is now OK and recovering very well, God is great.”

Melisa’s legs are now straightened and they will allow her to move easily without pain. This will help her to attend school, play, help out ...

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August 16, 2017

Melisa is a two-year-old living in Tanzania with her mother, father, and two siblings. She is currently in nursery school and loves to sing and play with her friends. Melissa’s mother works as a tailor, and her father works in construction.

When Melissa turned one and began to take her first steps, her mother noticed that her legs were bent at an odd angle. Her parents took her to the local hospital for medical attention, where she was diagnosed with genu varus. Genu varus is a congenital musculoskeletal condition in which the knees angle towards one another and touch when the legs are straightened. If left untreated, the condition can cause pain and result in difficultly walking.

Doctors have suggested that Melisa undergo surgery to correct her condition so that her legs grow and develop normally. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $835 to fund her operation, which will be performed on August 18. Melisa’s family is concerned about her condition but hopeful that with treatment she will have a bright future.

Melisa is a two-year-old living in Tanzania with her mother, father, and two siblings. She is currently in nursery school and loves to sing ...

Read more

Melisa's Timeline

  • August 16, 2017

    Melisa was submitted by Joan Kadagaya, Curative Medical Support Program-Partner Representative at African Mission Healthcare, our medical partner in Tanzania.

  • August 18, 2017

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

  • September 01, 2017

    Melisa's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • September 22, 2017

    Melisa's treatment was successful. Read the update.

  • November 13, 2017

    Melisa's treatment was fully funded.

Funded by 6 donors

Funded by 6 donors

Fluorosis - Genu Valgus / Varus
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $838 for Melisa'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?

Patients with genu valgum (or "knock-knees") have knees that bend inward and cause an abnormal walking gait. Patients with genu varum (or bowleggedness) have knees that bend outward and cause knee or hip pain and reduced range of motion in the hips.

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

The patient's mobility is hindered, which can prevent the patient from making a living through physical labor. The patient may also develop arthritis later in life.

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

In the United States, supplemental fluoride is added to the water to improve dental health. However, in areas of northern Tanzania, there is too much naturally-occurring fluoride in the water, which causes bone curvature.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

After surgery, the patient will stay in the hospital for 4-5 days. During this time, the surgical wound will be monitored for swelling and infection. The patient will complete physiotherapy to help him or her walk or move the limbs. A series of X-rays will be performed over several months to monitor the healing process.

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

The bones and joints will be aligned, and long-term disability will be prevented.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This procedure is not risky, but it is time-consuming. The rehabilitation process can take several months.

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

Care is not easily accessible. Most patients live in remote, rural areas and are identified through mobile outreach. The pediatric surgical program at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre was started to meet the large burden of pediatric disability in the region.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

There are no alternatives. Although some cases can heal on their own, the patients submitted to Watsi require dedicated treatment.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


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.”

80% funded

$298to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.