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Success! Neema from Tanzania raised $1,200 to treat a skull defect.

  • $1,200 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Neema's treatment was fully funded on January 16, 2016.

Photo of Neema post-operation

February 16, 2016

Neema received surgery to correct her skull defect.

“A shunt was inserted and the swelling excised successfully,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, tells us. “The wound has healed very well and Neema is showing great improvement in trying to control her trunk. She is on a feeding program and expected to continue with normal growth.”

“I have hope that my daughter will be able to sit, stand, and walk as she continues to grow. She is feeding well, much more active than she used to be. I appreciate the big financial support given,” says Neema’s mother.

"A shunt was inserted and the swelling excised successfully," our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, tells us. "The wou...

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January 5, 2016

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.

Eight-month-old Neema was born on May 4th, 2015 with congenital nervous system complications. As our medical partner, African Mission Health...

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Neema's Timeline

  • January 5, 2016

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

  • January 6, 2016

    Neema 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 11, 2016

    Neema's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • January 16, 2016

    Neema's treatment was fully funded.

  • February 16, 2016

    Neema's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 12 donors

Funded by 12 donors

Myelomeningocoele w/ hydrocephalus
  • 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.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.