Five-month-old Stella lives in Tanzania with her parents and three siblings.
Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), tells us that “when Stella turned two months, she had severe fever and fits.” Despite a few weeks in the hospital, “her mother noticed the size of her baby’s head was getting bigger. Stella’s activity slowly started to diminish and crying became normal for her.”
Stella’s symptoms are caused by hydrocephalus, a condition where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up in the brain, causing the head to swell. According to AMHF, “Stella is at risk of losing her vision if not treated. She may also not be able to sit, stand or walk due to the size of her head.”
Stella’s condition can be treated with hydrocephalus shunt surgery. During surgery, excess CSF will be drained, relieving her of the swelling and pressure in her head. This will eliminate the risk of vision-loss, and give Stella the chance to reach her developmental milestones.
To support their family, Stella’s mother does bead work and her father works as a livestock keeper, but they are unable to afford treatment for their daughter.
Treatment costs $775, which includes surgical fees, wound dressings for two weeks, pain management, a five day stay in the hospital, and two weeks at a rehabilitation center.
“I pray that my baby will get better. I will be very happy to see her grow up like other children,” says Stella’s mom.