Abubakar is eight months old and is the youngest in a family with two children. Abubakar and his family live in a one-room rental house in Nairobi’s suburbs. His mother is a stay-at-home mom, while his father works on the assembly line at a mineral water company.
At four months of age, he was diagnosed with a condition known as hydrocephalus, a condition in which an excess of fluids builds up in the skull, causing the brain to swell.
Abubakar, an otherwise cheerful baby, has turned irritable due to the increased intra-cranial pressure from the fluid in his brain. If he does not get treated, he will be at risk of impaired vision, delayed development, permanent brain damage, and even death.
At birth, Abubakar looked normal and was able to feed well. Four months later, his mother noticed his head growing at an abnormally fast rate compared with his body. Alarmed by this, Abubakar’s parents took him for a traditional Kenyan treatment that is alleged to keep the head from growing too big. The treatment involves dipping a wooden stick in hot oil and placing it on directly on the baby’s head. Abubakar went through this treatment twice.
“We burnt his head severely, but it has not helped a thing,” says Abubakar’s mother.
Naturally, the treatment did not stop the head from growing and only left the baby with conspicuous lesions all over the skull. At this point, Abubakar’s grandmother suggested that the family seek specialized treatment.
The family went to our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, where they sought the advice of a neuro-specialist. The specialist recommended that Abubakar have surgery to drain the fluid from his brain. His surgery is scheduled for May 26.
Abubakar’s parents’ combined income is barely enough to cover daily expenses, let alone any costly medical procedures. However, the family was able to raise $52 to go towards the surgery. Our medical partner is requesting $685 to help fund the surgery.
After surgery, Abubakar will be able to grow normally and be free from his condition.