Eight-month-old Neema was born on May 4th, 2015 with congenital nervous system complications. As our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), explains, “Neema was born with encephalocele on the back side of the skull.”
Encephalocele is rare defect that occurs when a baby is born with a gap between the skull bones. When this happens, a fluid-filled sac protrudes from the site of the opening. If untreated, this mass can worsen and expose Neema to further complications.
“The protrusion is growing with time and Neema also has hydrocephalus [fluid build-up in the brain] which needs management,” AMHF tells us. “Neema is already showing developmental delay as she still has no trunk control. She is also at high risk of losing her vision if not treated.”
The youngest of seven, Neema lives with her family in Tanzania. Neema’s parents are livestock keepers who supplement their income by farming. “They did not expect their baby to be born with congenital deformities, but they still love her and hope that something can be done to restore her wellbeing,” AMHF shares.
For $1,200, Neema will undergo lifesaving brain surgery to treat her encephalocele and hydrocephalus. Doctors will perform reconstructive surgery to restore the normal structure of her skull and drain the excess fluid from her brain.
After surgery, Neema will be transported to Plaster House, a specialized surgical rehabilitation program. There, she will spend two weeks working with physiotherapists and physicians during critical parts of her recovery. AMHF expects that Neema will retain her eyesight and benefit from normal childhood development.
“We really hope that our daughter will get well, have the ability to walk, to reason, and the strength to do various activities,” Neema’s father says.