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Success! Birungi from Uganda raised $252 to fund thyroid surgery.

  • $252 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Birungi's treatment was fully funded on January 14, 2021.

Photo of Birungi post-operation

January 15, 2021

Birungi underwent thyroid surgery.

Birungi had a successful thyroidectomy treatment for her goiter. She’s relieved that she no longer has disfigurement or pain. She’s able to swallow, breathe well, and hopes for a better life after recovery. She’s looking forward to continuing with farming.

Birungi shared, “I thank you, my donors, very much for supporting my surgery. I was not in a position to afford this. I’ll always remember such an amazing day of this opportunity.”

Birungi had a successful thyroidectomy treatment for her goiter. She's relieved that she no longer has disfigurement or pain. She's able to ...

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October 5, 2020

Birungi is a subsistence farmer from Uganda. She is a mother of five children and came to our Medical Partner’s Care Center Nyakibale Hospital with a neck mass that has been persistent for over 10 years. She also has a dry irritating cough, persistent heart palpitations, headaches, and difficulty breathing. Her daily work, she notes, has been affected by her swelling.

When Birungi came to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a goitre and thyroidectomy is recommended. However, she is not able to meet the cost of surgery. Birungi works on her farm to make ends meet. She has to divide up her earnings to meet daily needs and pay school fees for her children. She did not manage to complete her own schooling due to lack of school fees.

About 10 years ago, she lost her husband leaving her to raise their children. She is appealing for financial assistance to meet the cost of surgery which if not done, could result in airway obstruction among other complications.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is helping Birungi receive treatment. She is scheduled to undergo a thyroidectomy on October 6th at our medical partner’s care center. Surgeons will remove all or part of her thyroid gland. This procedure will cost $252, and she and her family need help raising money.

Birungi says, “I am hopeful for a better life after my surgery and expect to resume with farming after I getting better.”

Birungi is a subsistence farmer from Uganda. She is a mother of five children and came to our Medical Partner's Care Center Nyakibale Hospit...

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Birungi's Timeline

  • October 5, 2020

    Birungi was submitted by Robert Kariuki, Process Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare, our medical partner in Uganda.

  • October 06, 2020

    Birungi's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • October 07, 2020

    Birungi received treatment at Karoli Lwanga Hospital, Nyakibale. 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 14, 2021

    Birungi's treatment was fully funded.

  • January 15, 2021

    Birungi's treatment was successful. Read the update.

Funded by 7 donors

Funded by 7 donors

  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $252 for Birungi'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?

Patients in need of a thyroidectomy often present with a small thyroid growth (nodule or cyst), a thyroid gland that is so overactive it is dangerous (thyrotoxicosis), cancer of the thyroid, noncancerous (benign) tumors of the thyroid that are causing symptoms, or thyroid swelling (nontoxic goiter) that makes it hard to breathe or swallow. Patients in need of thyroid surgery often present with nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

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

The thyroid gland is an organ located in the front of your neck that releases hormones that control your metabolism (the way your body uses energy), breathing, heart rate, nervous system, weight, body temperature, and many other functions in the body. When the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) the body’s processes speed up and you may experience nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss, and sleep problems, among other symptoms.

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

Thyroid disorders are relatively common in the African continent. Iodine deficiency, although still the commonly documented cause of thyroid disorders in Africa, is not as rampant as it used to be. There is a compelling need to set up thyroid disorder registries in order to determine not only the scope of the burden of these disorders, but also to document changing trends, if any, especially given the background of widespread iodization programs. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer, and its incidence has continuously increased in the last three decades all over the world. This trend is present on every continent except Africa, where detection is possibly insufficient.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

Thyroid surgery takes approximately 3-8 hours depending on the patient. Patients will stay in the hospital for a maximum of 6-8 weeks or as needed for recovery. A patient will usually have one follow-up appointment in six weeks.

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

In cases involving thyroid cancer, the surgery is the patient’s best chance of preventing the spread of cancer and saving the patient’s life. For hyperthyroidism, the treatment helps stabilize the hormones that regulate metabolism and effectively treat some of the symptoms that the patient presents with such as rapid heartbeat, anxiety etc.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

Thyroid surgery is often 90% curative if diagnosis happens early. For benign tumors and hyperthyroidism, the surgery is more than 90% curative. The surgery comes with few risks.

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.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

In Kenya, surgery is the only treatment offered for thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism. This is because radiotherapy and medication alternatives are not easily accessible in the county. Also, the cost of treating with radiotherapy and medication is higher than that of surgery.

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.


Shamra is a 3-year-old baby girl from Tanzania. She is the firstborn of two children in her family. Shamra has clubfoot of her left foot. Clubfoot is a condition in which the foot is twisted out of shape. This causes her difficulty with walking and wearing shoes. She needs surgery to help re-position her foot correctly. Currently, Shamra and her sibling are being looked after by their grandmother because their mother has been sick for a long time and is unable to care for herself and her children. Given her age, their grandmother shared with us that she is really struggling to provide and care for both her daughter and and her grandchildren. Shamra’s grandmother sells boiled maize and groundnuts by the roadside in order to feed and care for her sick daughter and her grandchildren. Shamra's father has been absent for some time and does not provide support for their family. Their family appeals for financial support for the care that Shamra needs. Fortunately, Shamra traveled to visit our medical partner's care center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre. There, surgeons will perform clubfoot repair surgery and ongoing treatment starting on January 19th. Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $935 to fund Shamra's clubfoot repair. After treatment, she will be able to walk and play easily again. Shamra’s grandmother shared, “Please help my granddaughter as we are going through a very challenging situation and we have no means to raise the money we need. Thank you for any support you can provide.”

67% funded

$308to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.