At 19 months old, Kanakate is an active little girl who loves talking, running, and taking walks with her parents near their home in Ethiopia.
“Kanakate was born with a birth defect called anorectal malformation,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us. “Children with this defect have an imperforate anus, or they have no opening where the anus should have been. As a result, Kanakate cannot pass stool in the normal way.”
Treatment for an anorectal malformation typically involves three surgical procedures. In the first procedure—a colostomy—doctors pull an end of the colon through a cut in the abdominal wall and suture it in place to create an opening for passing stool. This is followed by an anorectoplasty to create an anal opening and then, two or three months later, a colostomy closure.
Kanakate underwent an emergency colostomy after she developed a bowel obstruction. Currently, “Kanakate has multiple issues with her colostomy care and associated complications from the colostomy,” explains AMHF. Because of these issues, the next steps in her care—anorectoplasty and colostomy closure—are more urgent.
Kanakate’s parents, who work as farmers, have been unable to afford the care that she needs. “We have no money to cover our child’s hospital bill. And that is really worrying us,” shares her father. In addition, the social stigma associated with Kanakate’s condition has been challenging for the family.
$1,500 covers the costs of the final two surgical procedures and inpatient care, including labs, imaging, pain medicine, and antibiotics. After surgery, “Kanakate will be able to pass stool in a normal way,” says AMHF.
“We hope that our daughter will get treatment and be well after all these months of waiting for treatment,” says Kanakate’s father.