Four-year-old Zelalem lives with his parents in Ethiopia. He loves soccer and spends all of his free time playing.
Zelalem was born with hypospadias, a condition in which the urethra opens on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip. As a result, he cannot pass urine while standing like other boys. Zelalem is eager to start school, but he has been unable to do so because of his condition.
Treatment for Zelalem is hypospadias repair, a procedure in which the surgeon takes tissue grafts from the foreskin or from the inside of the mouth to extend the length of the urethra so that it opens at the tip of the penis. If left untreated, Zelalem is likely to suffer urinary tract infections and may also be infertile in future.
Zelalem’s parents tried their best to get their child a treatment in public hospital, but they have waited for more than a year for a call so that their son can be included in the waiting list. Zelalem’s father is a traditional fabric weaver, but he does not earn much money from his work and cannot afford to pay for his son’s medical care.
$1,155 covers the costs of surgery for Zelalem as well as a 14-day hospital stay, including blood tests, imaging, and medicine. Zelalem’s parents look forward to a successful procedure and hope their son becomes as healthy as any other boy his age.