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Success! Whithines from Tanzania raised $775 for life-saving brain surgery.

  • $775 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Whithines's treatment was fully funded on January 1, 2016.

Photo of Whithines post-operation

January 16, 2016

Whithines received successful brain surgery.

After being born with a life-threatening neurological condition, Whithines successfully received treatment for hydrocephalus. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us, “Whithines is doing well. She had hydrocephalus and a shunt was inserted successfully and it is working properly.”

AMHF adds, “Whithines is out of the risk of losing her eyesight and the size of her head will not continue to increase.”

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the operation,” Whithines’ mother says. “My baby can now look at me and smile, she is more active and her head is not as heavy as before. I am truly thankful for the huge financial support, my husband and I wouldn’t have managed on our own.”

After being born with a life-threatening neurological condition, Whithines successfully received treatment for hydrocephalus. Our medical pa...

Read more
December 1, 2015

Two-month-old Whithines is a quiet, active baby girl who lives in Tanzania.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us, “Whithines was born without problems and was feeding and growing well until two weeks ago, when her mother noticed her daughter’s forehead was increasing in size. Her head was getting heavier and softer.”

Whithines’s increasing head size is the result of hydrocephalus, a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. In an infant, too much fluid—the result of infection, trauma, malformation of the central nervous system, or genetic defect—can increase pressure on the brain and inside the skull, leading to an enlarged head and developmental issues.

Treatment for Whithines is a shunt to drain the excess fluid from her brain. In this procedure, doctors place a shunt into the ventricles and connect it to a tube that runs under the skin and empties into the abdomen, where the excess fluid can be resorbed by the body.

Whithines’s grandparents support her and her young parents financially, but they do not earn enough money as small-scale farmers to pay for the procedure that Whithines needs.

$775 will fund surgery to place the shunt, as well as five days of hospital care and two weeks’ accommodations at The Plaster House, a home where children can recover after surgery. AMHF says, “Whithines’s head will no longer continue to increase in size, and she will no longer be at risk of losing her vision.”

“We love her dearly,” says Whithines’s mother. “We hope she will get better and later on have the ability to go to school and get a good career.”

Two-month-old Whithines is a quiet, active baby girl who lives in Tanzania. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (A...

Read more

Whithines's Timeline

  • December 1, 2015

    Whithines was submitted by Esupat Kimerei, Rehab Surgery Project Assistant Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare.

  • December 2, 2015

    Whithines received 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.

  • January 1, 2016

    Whithines's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 1, 2016

    Whithines's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 16, 2016

    Whithines's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Hydrocephalus alone
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

​What kinds of symptoms do patients experience before receiving treatment?

Symptoms of hydrocephalus include an enlarged head size, irritability, abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, and increased intracranial pressure. Cognitive development can be affected, and damage to the optic nerve can cause blindness.

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

In young children, hydrocephalus affects brain development, cognition, and vision. In older children and adults, hydrocephalus also causes headaches.

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

The burden of infant hydrocephalus in East Africa is significant, with more than 6,000 new cases estimated per year. The majority are caused by neonatal infection and vitamin deficiency, and should thus be preventable. In East Africa, the single most common cause of hydrocephalus is infection, usually via neonatal meningitis or ventriculitis. Neonatal sepsis is common and is exacerbated by the lack of skilled perinatal care for the majority of births in Africa.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Hydrocephalus patients are usually treated within a few days of arriving at the hospital. Fortunately, our medical partner can accept many patients who would otherwise go home if they could not afford the surgery cost. Treatment involves inserting a shunt into the brain to route cerebrospinal fluid to another part of the body. One month after surgery, the patient returns for a follow-up appointment.

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

This surgery is lifesaving. The patient will no longer be at risk of cognitive and vision damage. Surgical treatment for hydrocephalus can restore and maintain normal cerebrospinal fluid levels in the brain.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This condition is treatable, though the outcome depends on how quickly the disease is identified and treated.

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 hydrocephalus is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the only option.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Kanha is a 21-year-old woman from Cambodia who lives with her family. She has three brothers and two sisters who also still live at home with their parents. Because of an unknown birth condition, she does not speak, so she has never attended school. She occasionally helps out her family by harvesting fruit from local orchards to earn extra income. On March 4th, Kanha fell from a mango tree while collecting fruit and injured her back. She experiences severe pain in her neck and back and is unable to walk. Her family took her to a local provincial hospital, but they could not pay for her care. Instead, the doctors recommended that the family drive four hours to the capital city of Phnom Penh for treatment. She has been diagnosed with a fractured spin and requires surgery. Fortunately, our medical partner, Children's Surgical Centre (CSC), is helping Kanha receive treatment. On March 10th, doctors at CSC will perform a spinal laminectomy with metal implants to stabilize her spinal column. A laminectomy enlarges the spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Now, Kanha and her family need help raising $1,500 to fund her procedure and care. The cost includes hospitalization, surgery, implants, physical therapy, and medications. After recovery, Kanha's pain should improve significantly, and she should have full mobility after four to eight weeks. Kanha's mother shared, "we hope after surgery, my daughter will no longer be in pain and will be able to walk."

30% funded

$1,037to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.