Meet another patient

Watsi logo blueWatsi

Joel is a one-month-old boy from Kenya who needs $1,097 to fund spina bifida surgery.

Joel
34%
  • $380 raised, $717 to go
$380
raised
$717
to go
Dedicate my donation


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

June 28, 2017

Joel is a one-month old baby boy from Kenya. He is the youngest of three children and lives with his parents. His mother is a farmer, and his father is a construction worker.

When Joel was born, doctors noticed a swelling on his lower back that was leaking fluid. They diagnosed him with spina bifida, a condition in which there is an incomplete formation of the spine and a leaking of cerebrospinal fluid through the gap. If left untreated, this condition can lead to the development of a tethered spinal cord, infections of the exposed tissue, scoliosis, and a rounding of the back.

Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation, is requesting $1,097, on top of the $52 subsidized by Joel’s family, in order to cover the cost of Joel’s spina bifida closure surgery. The procedure is scheduled to take place on June 29 and, once completed, will hopefully allow Joel to grow and develop in a healthy manner.

“This was so unexpected and quite devastating,” says Joel’s mother. “But I am encouraged to know that there is a solution to his condition.”

Joel is a one-month old baby boy from Kenya. He is the youngest of three children and lives with his parents. His mother is a farmer, and hi...

Read more

Joel's Timeline

Funded by 13 donors

Funded by 13 donors

Treatment
Spina Bifida Closure
  • Cost Breakdown
  • Diagnosis
  • Procedure
On average, it costs $1,097 for Joel's treatment
Hospital Fees
$889
Medical Staff
$0
Medication
$82
Supplies
$0
Labs
$126
  • Symptoms
  • Impact on patient's life
  • Cultural or regional significance

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

The patient has a mass or lesion on the back that leaks cerebral spinal fluid, which puts him or her at risk of infection.

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

Spina bifida can cause incontinence, bladder and kidney damage, and paralysis and numbness in the lower limbs, bladder, and sphincter. It can also lead to hydrocephalus as a result of disturbance to the fluid in the brain. Hydrocephalus can lead to cognitive dysfunction, blindness, and death.

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

Spina bifida is more common in developing countries due to improper and inadequate nutrition. Foods containing folic acid are scarce, and food is not fortified. In Kenya, however, the Ministry of Health has recently started a program to give expectant mothers folic acid for free at government facilities.

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

What does the treatment process look like?

After surgery, the patient's hospital stay ranges from two days to three weeks. The length of stay depends on the healing rate of the wound and will be extended if the patient also undergoes a shunt insertion to treat hydrocephalus. However, shunt insertions are usually performed about one month after this surgery. The patient is continually monitored. If the wound heals and the patient is in a neurologically stable condition, the surgery is considered successful.

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

Surgery performed within the first days of a child’s life prevents infection and saves the spine and brain from further damage. Early surgery also minimizes the risk of paralysis. Later treatment may save the child's life and prevent further damage.

What potential side effects or risks come with this treatment?

This surgery is moderately risky, and complications depend on the severity of the case.

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 spina bifida is often unavailable.

What are the alternatives to this treatment?

Surgery is the primary option for most types of spina bifida.

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.