Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Caren is a student from Kenya who needs $685 to fund hydrocephalus treatment.

  • $360 raised, $325 to go
to go
Dedicate my donation

We'll send your dedicatee an email
about your gift, along with updates
about Caren's recovery.

June 28, 2017

Caren is a 12-year-old girl from Kenya who is the third child in a family of seven. She contracted malaria and pneumonia when she was two and, while she recovered from those conditions, continued to experience a gradual swelling of her head thereafter.

Now, the expansion of the circumference of Caren’s head is one of many symptoms that she faces due to what has been diagnosed as hydrocephalus, or a buildup of fluid in the brain that increases intracranial pressure. In class, Caren trembles excessively when she writes, struggles to pay attention, and often falls asleep, resulting in the mockery of her peers. She additionally has little balance when she walks, struggles to urinate, and faces constant fatigue.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $685 to fund the insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt that will drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid from Caren’s brain. Without treatment, Caren is at risk of vision loss, permanent brain damage, and even death. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 29 and, once completed, will hopefully spare Caren of these awful complications.

“I feel like giving up at times but I have to bear down on for my children,” shares Caren’s mother.

Caren is a 12-year-old girl from Kenya who is the third child in a family of seven. She contracted malaria and pneumonia when she was two an...

Read more

Caren's Timeline

Funded by 4 donors

Funded by 4 donors

Hydrocephalus - Shunt
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $685 for Caren'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?

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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.