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.