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Hellen is a 3-year-old girl from Tanzania who needs $880 to fund leg surgery so she can run and play as she grows.

  • $360 raised, $520 to go
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June 17, 2022

Hellen is a charming and playful 3-year-old girl, living with her mother. They live with Hellen’s grandparents who are also helping to raise her. The grandparents are small scale farmers, who rely on the crops that they grow, and on any income their surplus crops generate.

While Hellen was born a healthy child, her mother noticed that when she began to walk, her legs bent outwards. Ultimately, Hellen was diagnosed with bilateral varus, a condition which is typically caused by the accumulation of excess fluoride in the bones, which results from the drinking of contaminated water. Hellen now walks with a limp, and has pain in her knees when she walks.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Hellen. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 17th, at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. Treatment will hopefully restore Hellen’s mobility, allow her to participate in a variety of activities, and greatly decrease her risk of any future complications.

Hellen’s mother says: “I have watched my daughter’s legs move from bad to worse for two years, but I cannot afford to seek treatment for her. I am in dire need of your support.”

Hellen is a charming and playful 3-year-old girl, living with her mother. They live with Hellen's grandparents who are also helping to raise...

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Hellen's Timeline

  • June 17, 2022

    Hellen was submitted by Edward Mugane, Impact Assessment Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare.

  • June 17, 2022

    Hellen was scheduled to receive treatment at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC) in Tanzania. 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.

  • June 21, 2022

    Hellen's profile was published to start raising funds.


    Hellen is currently raising funds for her treatment.

  • TBD

    Awaiting Hellen's treatment update from African Mission Healthcare.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

Fluorosis - Genu Valgus / Varus
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $880 for Hellen'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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.