Meet Travis - A baby's life-threatening condition
Imagine the joy of giving birth to what you think is a healthy baby boy. Then imagine the worry when your child doesn't have the ability to defecate.
A baby's ability to digest food is essential to growth and development. This is a life-threatening issue, especially in low- and middle- income countries where access to children's surgery isn't readily available. Up until now, Travis has only been able to defecate using a catheter, which is a tube that is inserted in the lower right abdomen.
If it hadn't been for the newly installed Operating Room at Bugando Medical Centre - the first dedicated OR for children in this hospital - Travis's family would probably have to travel for more than 700 miles to Muhimbili National Hospital - that's over 17 hours by car.
In many cases, such as Travis's, surgeons may need to perform surgery on two separate occasions. This can have devastating consequences for families who can't afford to travel long distances.
Loyeshazi, Travis's mum, was extremely worried when she noticed that her baby wasn't defecating like other children.
She thought she would have to face long waiting lists or extended travel, but was delighted when she heard that KidsOR and Smile Train had recently installed a dedicated children's Operating Room in her closest hospital.
I extend my sincere thanks to all who made this surgery possible, and to those who gave us this aid, we are thankful.
Travis successfully underwent the first abdominal surgery at Bugando Medical Centre in Tanzania, and will return soon for the second operation.
After the second operation, Travis will be able to defecate and have a normal childhood, free of a life-threatening abdominal condition. It also means he will be able to join school like other children, and will probably be saved a life of bullying because of his condition.
We wish Travis a happy and healthy life.