Every year, more than 5000 babies are born with hydrocephalus in Tanzania.
And as it seems, over 25 percent of mothers whose children suffer such conditions usually get dumped by their husbands, who don’t want to have anything to do with such babies.
Most of the women also get by their families, thus being forced to fend for themselves.
The Director of the Association of Parents with Children with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, Suma Mwaipopo reveals that many women also suffer in silence as the society continues to stigmatize them.
Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine which usually becomes apparent at birth while Hydrocephalus is the build-up of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain.
“It is more than just psychological torture because women who suffer the ordeal of being snubbed for bearing children suffering from Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida usually also cannot afford the costs of treatment,” said Ms Mwaipopo.
Most mothers are housewives with no employment or other sources of income. These are caught between the rock and a hard place, finding money for food or seeking funds to treat their children.
In efforts to remedy the situation, parents suffering similar predicament have come together to form the association which serves as a special platform to help give voice to the voiceless.
Assisting the abandoned mothers out of their predicament.
“We appeal to the government and members of the society to come forth and assist the mothers and their suffering children, because the costs of treating such conditions can be staggeringly high,” Suma added.
So far the association has been able to support the treatment of some 12,000 children suffering from the medical conditions, but they need more help to continue provisioning for others.
“Despite constraining finances, we have also constructed two buildings in Dar es Salaam, to house mothers who travel long distances from upcountry regions, coming to the city seeking medical services,” she said.
Working in 11 regions of Tanzania, the association now has 7,000 members, across the nation.
While more than 5000 children in Tanzania are born with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida every year, it is reported that, out of every 1000 babies being delivered around the world, there are 3 children suffering from Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.