Just one month old, Iyan lives with his parents and two older siblings in a one-room rental house in Kenya. His parents are subsistence farmers without an external source of income.
Iyan was born with spina bifida, a condition in which the spine does not form completely. His spinal cord and its surrounding membranes protrude through an opening in his backbone, forming a sac on his lower back. As a result, Iyan’s spinal cord is exposed, making him vulnerable to infection and loss of muscle function in his lower limbs.
Iyan’s mother did not know what the mass on his lower back meant until she took him to a district hospital. There, the medical team changed the dressing on Iyan’s back for two days. A doctor explained to his mother the risks of his condition and referred them to our medical partner’s care center for specialized treatment. Iyan underwent surgery to place his spinal cord and nerves back inside his spine, cover them with membranes, and close the opening on his back.
Now, Iyan’s head is increasing in size, and a CT scan has revealed excess fluid accumulation in his skull. This condition, known as hydrocephalus, may lead to a progressive increase in head circumference, brain damage, loss of sight, and even death if not treated. Iyan’s family used the little amount of money they had on the CT scan, and they are not able to raise funds for his continued care.
Watsi’s medical partner, African Mission Healthcare Foundation (AMHF), requests $685 to pay for an operation to insert a shunt in Iyan’s head to drain the excess fluid and transport it to his abdomen, where it can be resorbed by the body. Funding for Iyan also pays for five days of hospital care, blood tests, a second CT scan, pain medicine, and antibiotics. Iyan’s surgery is scheduled for July 20.
“I am pleading for help to see our only boy gets well,” says Iyan’s mother. Let’s help make that happen!