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Success! Namayani from Tanzania raised $1,200 for spina bifida and hydrocephalus treatment.

  • $1,200 raised, $0 to go
to go
Fully funded
Namayani's treatment was fully funded on April 7, 2016.

Photo of Namayani post-operation

May 12, 2016

Namayani received spina bifida and hydrocephalus treatment.

Namayani’s surgery was a surgery was a success! “Myelomeningocele closure was done successfully and there is no more cerebral spinal fluid leaking from her lower back,” reports her doctor at African Mission Healthcare Foundation. “The wound has healed and Namayani is able to move her lower limbs around, which is a good sign. She is still under observation with regards to the size of her head and Namayani is out of the risk of easily contracting infection through what was a lesion on her lower back.”

“I am happy now that I can hold my daughter without worrying about hurting her back,” shares Namayani’s mother. “She is calmer and is feeding well. I greatly appreciate the big financial support. My husband and I wouldn’t have managed on our own. Thank you!”

Namayani's surgery was a surgery was a success! "Myelomeningocele closure was done successfully and there is no more cerebral spinal fluid l...

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March 22, 2016

Meet Namayani, a baby girl born in mid-March who lives with her family in Tanzania. “Namayani was born with a lesion on her lower back, which is leaking cerebrospinal fluid,” our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), reports. “She also has hydrocephalus.”

As many as 90% of children with spina bifida also present with hydrocephalus. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect where part of the tube fails to develop properly, causing defects in the spine. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the brain, causing the head to swell.

Because Namayani has both conditions, she is in need of treatment to prevent her head from increasing in size, as well as to protect her from contracting infections. If she goes untreated, “Namayani could end up blind or completely disabled,” says AMHF.

Though she’s living with two serious conditions, Namayani is a sweet and quiet baby. “She is feeding well and only cries when hungry, wet, or held in a position which is uncomfortable,” AMHF shares.

To treat both of her conditions, Namayani will undergo surgery to repair the spine defect and will need a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt to drain the excess fluid from the brain to to the abdomen. The procedures, and her hospital stay, will cost $1,200.

After treatment, Namayani will no longer be at risk of contracting an infection, and her head will cease to swell. Her parents, who have seven other children, are concerned for their new baby, and are eager to get the correct treatment for their daughter.

“We just hope that our daughter will get well and grow up like other children,” Namayani’s father shares.

Meet Namayani, a baby girl born in mid-March who lives with her family in Tanzania. "Namayani was born with a lesion on her lower back, whic...

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Namayani's Timeline

  • March 22, 2016

    Namayani was submitted by Esupat Kimerei, Rehab Surgery Project Assistant Coordinator at African Mission Healthcare, our medical partner in Tanzania.

  • March 23, 2016

    Namayani received treatment at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC). 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.

  • April 01, 2016

    Namayani's profile was published to start raising funds.

  • April 07, 2016

    Namayani's treatment was fully funded.

  • May 12, 2016

    Namayani's treatment was successful. Read the update.

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.


Khin is a 25-year-old man from Thailand. He lives with his wife and his friend in Mae Pa Village in the north of the country. Khin and his wife moved from Burma searching for better job opportunities. His wife works in a factory as a seamstress. Khin used to work as a day laborer but since his accident he has not been able to work. His friend works as an agricultural day laborer but he does not share his income with Khin and his wife. In his free time, Khin loved to play caneball with his friends and listen to music. Khin currently has a colostomy and shared that he does not like having one. He feels embarrassed and he avoids his friends. He worries what his friends will think so he always stays at home since he received the colostomy. Aside from his symptoms, he feels sad that he cannot work and that he has to depend on his wife’s income. Furthermore, because of the COVID-19, the factory his wife works at has reduced their hours of operation. Khin underwent a colostomy, in which the end of the colon was brought through an opening in the abdominal wall. This surgery is often performed to bypass bowel malformations, but colostomies are usually temporary and may call for reversal. In Khin's case, his colostomy requires reversal in order to restore bowel function and prevent future complications. Our medical partner, Burma Children Medical Fund, is requesting $1,500 to cover the cost of a reverse colostomy for Khin. The surgery is scheduled to take place on August 10th and, once completed, will hopefully allow him to live more comfortably and confidently. Khin said, “I feel sad that I cannot work and have to depend on my wife’s income. When I was admitted at the hospital my wife had to accompany me which also reduced the salary she received.”

81% funded

$282to go

Meet another patient you can support

100% of your donation funds life-changing surgery.