During the period between 2004 and 2009 there is an estimated number of 200 children with hydrocephalus seen in the surgical clinics in the province Manicaland. Only 5% of these children had shunts inserted, with the rest failing to meet the cost of the surgical procedure as most of these families are extremely poor. The majority of these 200 children (about 70%) were lost in follow-up and their whereabouts could not be ascertained. Some are believed to have passed away or got assistance somewhere else.
Most parents of children with hydrocephalus get stigmatized and they sometimes shun public places and keep the babies in their home. This may be one of the contributing factors why some of these children come late for medical intervention. Accusations of the mothers taking pills during pregnancy and witchcraft or something to do with ancestors are also part of this stigmatization.
Financial support for surgeries is a reason to start this Program for parents to have a chance to save the life of their child. But this may only extend the lives of these children for a few months or even a year or so. For a majority of these children long term survival is only possible with regular follow up care. Besides medical treatment and follow up examinations, the Program is also focused on better awareness and education within the communities and the health care providers for the children’s wellbeing and to fight stigmatization.